Monday, July 17, 2006


lliberated by John Amato.
Since those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it — and since the cast of characters making pronouncements on the crisis in the Middle East is very much the same as it was three or four years ago — it seems like a good idea to travel down memory lane. Here’s what they said and when they said it:
“The greatest thing to come out of [invading Iraq] for the world economy … would be $20 a barrel for oil.” Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation (which owns Fox News), February 2003

“Peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkans suggests. There’s been none of the record in Iraq of ethnic militias fighting one another that produced so much bloodshed and permanent scars in Bosnia.” Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense and now president of the World Bank, Feb. 27, 2003

“Earlier this week, I traveled to Baghdad to visit the capital of a free and democratic Iraq.” President Bush, June 17, 2006

“People are doing the same as [in] Saddam’s time and worse. … These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.” Ayad Allawi, Mr. Bush’s choice as Iraq’s first post-Saddam prime minister, November 2005
There's more

It's hard to beat this…

The official second quarter results are in and Democratic challenger Darcy Burner reports $590,561 in contributions compared to GOP incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert’s $569,077.
,,,but there's delight in the details...
...he only shows $186,388.29 in total contributions from individuals for the quarter compared with $418,627.89 for Burner.
Almost everything Darcy's raised is from individuals like you and me. More than half or Reichert's money comes from, umm, other sources. I haven't seen figures for the number of individual contributors to each campaign, but I'm sure there's an equally impressive, or even more impressive, advantage for Darcy.

The Honorable Darcy Burner, MC.

Has a nice ring to it.

Of course, more is better, and you can help here.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


I resemble that remark.

But sure enough, if I had sufficient loot, I'd be there for this.

And now...

Quote of the day

"Let me make it clear. I would shed my last drop of blood to defend their right to hold that biblical worldview. They are absolutely entitled to believe that Anne Frank is burning in hell along with Dr. Seuss, Gandhi and Einstein. But I will not accept my government telling me who are the children of the greater God and who are the children of the lesser God. That's the difference. I will not defend -- I will fight them tooth and nail, and lay down a withering field of fire and leave sucking chest wounds -- if they engage the machinery of the state, which is what they're doing."

Mikey Weinstein, former JAG officer and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Hat tip to Stirling Newberry.

From the "Me neither" file.

PRESIDENT PUTIN: We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly.
Heck, some days the one we've got around here doesn't seem to be such great shakes lately...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

From the "Me too" file…

I'd like to congratulate the House for finally passing a 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act in much the same way that I'd congratulate somebody for not stripping nude and overturning tables at a cocktail party.

Tune time.

Another random romp through c:/mymusic/mp3mix/...
Billy & The Beaters - At This Moment
Bob Marley - One Love/People Get Ready
Ekoostik Hookah - I Been Down That Road
The Bangles - Manic Monday
Butterfield Blues Band - Got My Mojo Working
Aubrey Haynie - Make A Little Boat
Dr. John - Iko, Iko
Bottom Up Blues Gang - Key To The Highway
Doc Watson - Sitting On Top Of The World
Christine Kane - The Customers
Y'all really need to track down that Christine Kane album. Really.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cat blogging...

...or is it?

I'm surprised…

…that Postman is surprised...
"As a small businessman, Mark has put his company on hold to work for the final four months of the campaign. He has accepted a full-time staff position as outreach director at $8,000 per month through the election. We are pleased to have Mark on our team."

I have to admit I am surprised at how much Wilson is being paid.
Look, go out and talk to some small business folks, sole proprietors, and tell them that you’d like them to shutter their shop, hit the road for three months (apparently the term of Wilson's employment), work long days away from home and when it's all over be cut loose to pick up the pieces of their life for $24K, which will probably work out to something well under twenty bucks an hour.

Most of 'em probably wouldn't take the deal if they thought there was a cure for cancer at the end of the rainbow. They just couldn't afford it.

Mark Wilson can, perhaps because he's already trimmed his business sails somewhat for a year and a half as he's combed the state trying to build his own primary campaign, establishing links with members of the "peace and justice" community that he's now going to attempt to cement and expand on behalf of Maria Cantwell. In the world of upper echelon political consulting, that's called a bargain. In the context of a multi-million dollar campaign operation, it's crumbs. If Wilson ends up picking up a share of his travel expenses (and my own experience as a staffer off and on since 1972 says he almost certainly will), he'll likely lose money on the deal.

You think you'd like to be in his shoes? That's mostly because you've never been there.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I just don't get it.

This description of the 'come to Jesus' moment that transformed him from potential opponent to honorary Co-Chair of the Maria Cantwell campaign kind of puzzles me...
…LaMagna has the most insightful take. It's not that Cantwell has changed, but that in a one-on-one conversation she was able to convince him that she cares deeply about getting the U.S. out of Iraq and is not the uncaring neo-con some anti-war activists make her out to be.
"I basically left my meeting with Maria feeling that in my mind she is nowhere near Joe Lieberman, for instance, on the war. She felt compassionate for the Iraqi people that were subjugated by a psychopathic murderer. ... She's not interested in an occupation or permanent military bases and she's willing to happily start engaging all progressives.
"Insightful"? More like astonishing.

How could any sentient being with more than a passing interest in Democratic politics generally, and the Cantwell v. McGavick race particularly, possibly believe that Maria Cantwell is anywhere near Joe Lieberman on the war? The anti-Cantwell equation seems to be powerfully self-delusional...

Supported the use of force resolution = supports "The War" = just like Lieberman = supports Bush =…

Well, what is the conclusion? For some, it's anybody but Cantwell, even at the risk of (if not with the intent of) promoting a win for McGavick in November. Thus they've convinced themselves that Maria Cantwell is Joe Lieberman and Mark Wilson Hong Tran is Ned Lamont.

Neither, of course, is true. That doesn't matter so much as the fact that past Maria's vote to authorize force as a response to a defined set of circumstances after a prescribed process doesn't, in fact, equate with support for "The War." Not this war, not this way. Unlike Joe Lieberman, Maria has been a persistent critic of Bushco™ policy on a number of grounds, from the disgraceful lack of oversight over public contracting to the neglect of our returning veterans to her demand for a framework of concrete benchmarks that can light the path to withdrawal.

Nope, she's nothing like Joe. It's just amazes me that someone as engaged, and presumably informed, as Dal LaMagna could possibly entertain the notion.

Buncha group of folks...

...checking in from Democratic Underground, but I can never find anything over there. Whatcha'll looking at? Got a pointer?

Over 100,000 contributions…

...most from right here in the upper left, and none from PACs.

Can we just drop the nonsense about Maria's so-called 'grassroots problem'?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Speaking of crooks...

Via David Postman...
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich who once declared Washington state "ground zero of the Republican revolution" of 1994 returns to the state Saturday to help Republicans hold on to their post-revolution majority.

Gingrich was invited to the state by Congressman Dave Reichert's campaign...
I can't think of a better reason to toss a few more dollars to Darcy Burner (after all, a million bucks ain't what it used to be).

"The most crooked, lying bunch..."

It's even better bigger.

Collect the whole set.


As Congress opened hearings yesterday on the treatment of terrorism detainees, the Bush administration's view was neatly summarized by Steven Bradbury, the Justice Department lawyer serving as lead witness. "The president," Bradbury said, "is always right."
It's hard to imagine a more un-American notion.

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

From the "Good Question" file…

…ten of 'em.

I just hate it…

…when Republicans appropriate Democratic icons for their own purposes. I hate it even more when they appropriate our Party's ballot line. This from Democrat In Name (Sometimes) (™ Carl), State Senator Tim Sheldon
"I'm a Democrat because I'm committed to public service. I grew up as a Democrat. I attended the 1964 national convention as an alternate delegate when LBJ was nominated. Among my heroes when I grew up were John Kennedy," said Sheldon, who is 59.
That sounds like quite the credential, except that for the thirty or so years I've been involved in it, in order to be a precinct, let alone national, delegate in the Democratic candidate selection process, you have to be a registered voter. Tim Sheldon was seventeen at the time. The voting age was 21.

So, was he a phony voter? Or a phony delegate?

We know he's a phony Democrat.

Happily, there's something we can do about that.

Monday, July 10, 2006

As promised…

…I'm bringing another comment to the front page, because Mark Centz raises some points worth response and amplification. He begins
Shaun, certainly you know that using pacifist left is a propagandist tactic. Many of us against this war are not pacifists, we are against illegal wars of aggression carried out in our name at the cost of untold lives, 2 billion a week, and the respect of the world.
To the first point I can only say, well, yeah. Pretty much every thing I write here uses language as a propagandist tactic. Everything I write, everything I quote, every graphic I post, all of it's here in the service of a particular point of view. I'm not objective, not about most anything. Heck, I was picking teams to root for in the World Cup and I don't really give a good goddamn about the World Cup.

As to the second point, well, yeah again. Since I'm against the Iraq war and the ongoing occupation, and since I'm not a pacifist, I'll readily concede the point. To argue that many, even most, opponents of the war aren't pacifists isn't to say that there are no pacifists in the ranks of the anti-war left, or that faction doesn't represent a significant force in the assault from Maria's left flank.

Of course, it's not "just about the war," is it? Mark raises some of the other issues in play...
You and Carl are correct that she voted correctly on the Flag Burning Amendment. It’s astonishing that any Democrat would even consider voting for it, but there they were doing so, and the Junior Senator resisted, so hooray. Meanwhile, as shoephone rightly points out, the odious Patriot Act is law with her support. The slim chance we had of stopping Alito was made slimmer by her vote for cloture. Didn’t your guy Kerry start that ball rolling? Yes he did, and good for him. Her votes for Ashcroft, Rice, and Gonzales were indefensible.
The Patriot Act became law, of course, with the support of 99 Senators. That's every single one of them, save Russ Feingold, who coincidentally is a Cantwell supporter, not just in name or by check. No, Russ came to Washington to campaign with Maria. Maybe that's because he values her support during the Patriot reauthorization as a group of Democrats, faced with the certain passage of such a reauthorization, labored hard to make such improvements in the margins as they could. Maria co-sponsored the SAFE Act with Feingold and others, to protect librarians, booksellers and their patrons. She joined a filibuster in an effort to force concessions, including retention of sunset provisions, and, in the end, that effort enjoyed a degree of success. Hardly the degree I'd like, but this is hardly the Senate I want. Of course, in a legislative environment, sometimes the price of winning on a small point or two means sucking it up come final passage time. "Give me what I want but don't expect me to vote for it" is a lousy bargaining chip.

And then Alito. No, Maria didn't join Kerry's filibuster. Of course, most of her colleagues didn't. The filibuster wasn't authorized or whipped by the Democratic caucus. It was something John Kerry was honor bound to do to fulfil a long-standing commitment to his constituency, and while his willingness to stick his neck out in the face of certain failure may be laudatory, it was a personal, not a partisan, battle. While I, too, would have been delighted had Maria cast a toke vote for the filibuster, its fate was sealed by the Gang of 14's decision to support the nomination. Again, Maria's failure to sustain the filibuster he led didn't deter Kerry from traveling to Washington to campaign at her side, nor should it deter Democrats from enthusiastically supporting their Senator.

Mark quickly acknowledges that Maria didn't, in fact, vote for Gonzales. Neither, in fact, did she vote for Ashcroft. She did vote for Rice, but frankly, I can see several possible lines of defense for that confirmation. Others may or may not find them persuasive, but "indefensible" is simply inaccurate.

Mark continues...
Your ongoing meme, it’s Cantwell or McGavick., is flawed. Not because Mark Wilson has no realistic chance of winning in November, but because our reasoned and vocal displeasure with the candidate for reelection may result in a better Senator. No question the Cantwell in hand is better than the McSafeco in the bush, but there are too many of us that think Cantwell ought to be better than she is. If she defended the Constitution with the same ferocity that she defends the wilderness, she’d have many more champions, and no shortage of doorbellers.
Except that, well, it is Cantwell or McGavick. I you won't take my word for it, ask Mark Wilson. Should Maria be "better than she is"? Well, sure. She should be perfect, by which I mean she should reflect my personal view on every issue, every time. As the great American philosopher Lenny Bruce said, though, "What should be is a lie. The truth is what is." And what is is a binary choice. Cantwell or McGavick. Flawed? I beg to differ. It's the truth.

But in the end...
Right now, the only reason I support her is because I want Harry Reid as Majority Leader. Without that, ANWR drilling becomes a certainty in the next Congress, no matter what the Junior Senator does. And far more importantly, we might just get some real oversight on an outlaw regime.
There ya' go, Mark. All said and done, you support her. We're on the same team. You, Mark and I all view Maria through our own reality tunnels, all find our own points of agreement and dissent, and all come to the same conclusion. We support Maria. Dissent can't make her a better Senator if it takes forms that make her an ex-Senator. It's past time to choose up sides. It's time to get to work.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

And now...

Mea Culpa.

I admit it. I've been guilty of dismissing Mark Wilson as a gadfly, a serial partisan who wasn't a serious enough person, politically, to be taken seriously. He corrects my error with an eloquent withdrawal statement after what must have been a very serious assessment of his campaign and the real stakes for all of us...
...I stated all along that my goal in this effort was not to run against anyone, but to run for everyone. This has been a campaign of our values. And, that the highest priority is that we Democrats retain this important seat.

Senator Maria Cantwell is the best choice for achieving that important goal. The fact is that Senator Cantwell has time and again stood, face in the wind of adversity, and persevered on our behalf. Now is the time to get behind her and push.

Please join me in this important effort.
Hat tip to Evergreen Politics, where you'll find Wilson's complete statement.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

From the Good Question file.

Steve Soto notes Gallup findings that "...there is no consensus amongst the general public on what to do in Iraq, with the country split approximately in thirds between immediate withdrawal, gradual withdrawal, and staying the course." and wonders...

Why does the media expect the Democrats to be unified when the public itself is divided on Iraq?

Random tunes for today...

Carl Perkins - Put Your Cat Clothes On
Buddy Holly - Words Of Love
Booker T. & The MGs - Green Onions
Bill Miller - Geronimo's Cadillac
Gina Scipione - Independence Day
Guy Clark - Queenie's Song
Donovan - Season Of The Witch
Eddie Shaw - I Ain't Superstitious
Blues Traveler - Run-Around
Emily Lord - Give A Little Bit

Friday, July 07, 2006

A night off...

...for the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat so her canine buddy Ben can get a little attention. He's been feeling a bit left out since the arrival of The Quarterback at his house...

Not to worry, though. They're gonna be great pals.

There's a difference.

A lot of 'em, really, but David Postman makes one clear…
McGavick said he supported means testing -- voluntarily at first but then mandatory if people don't send the government back enough money -- and shifting Social Security to privately managed individual retirement accounts. He would guarantee benefits of people at or near retirement age.


Cantwell opposes any privatization. She encourages people to save more on their own but "believes it is too risky to convert an individual's Social Security account to an unguaranteed private account managed by Wall Street."

She opposes means testing or binding Congress to an up or down vote on a plan from a bipartisan commission, which she says would be abdicating oversight authority.
Which side are you on?

And counting...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

New names…

...but no new (current) Senators on the list of Democrats committed to the Democratic nominee in Connecticut…

Those who would support the Democratic nominee

Hillary Clinton
Howard Dean
Russ Feingold
Al Gore
John Kerry
Bob Menendez
Tom Vilsack

Those who would support a Lieberman independent bid

Ben Nelson
Ken Salazar
Maybe this is Al's way of apologizing.

UPDATE: Archpundit sez "Barack will back the Democratic Nominee in CT Senate."

Like the proverbial stopped clock…

…sometimes a Republican gets something right.
“That Fort Sam cannot even pay for basic post operations is, frankly, Mr. Secretary, a disgrace.”

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who represents Fort Sam Houston, to Army Secretary Francis Harvey.
I hate what they've done they're doing to my Army.

Hat tip to The Democratic Daily

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cause for concern…

In an overview of some of the problems Maria Cantwell is having with the pacifist left, Dave Ammons quotes Seattle psychologist and Cantwell critic Howard Gale...
"What I would be concerned about if I'm her staff is that in November, a lot of people might be so conflicted, they'll just sit it out," Gale said.
It's a reasonable concern, but it's a concern hardly limited to Maria's staff. In fact, what I would be concerned about if I cared about an oil derrick-free ANWR, an oil tanker-free Puget Sound, control of predatory corporations, protection of reproductive choice, protection of the First Amendment, moving America toward energy independence, the preservation of Social Security and, yes, ultimately, withdrawal from Iraq is that so many Democrats will be disaffected by the constant drumbeat of disdain from a small faction at the fringes of genuine Democratic sentiment that they'll just sit it out.

But perhaps that's the point. There seem to be some folks out there that think Maria's sins can only be expunged by the election of Senator McGavick, and if that requires a Rovian effort to suppress Democratic voters through discouragement, so be it.

Maria Cantwell will be the Democratic nominee for the US Senate. Alternatives are, at best, illusionary. Anything done to impede her campaign serves only one beneficiary, Mike McGavick.

It's a binary choice, and it's long past time to choose up sides.

You can make your choice tangible here.

And the tally begins…

I'm inclined to be tolerant of Democratic Senators expressing support for Joe Lieberman in the primary, and I can understand, to a degree, the reluctance of most of them to come out against a colleague who they may see on the floor tomorrow, and whose vote the may be counting on in the immediate future. It's a situation not without complications. I think silence on the Lieberman question, pre- or post-primary, should be taken as a sufficient response for the time being.

That being said, I think an early commitment to support the Democratic nominee, whoever it may be, deserves praise, and any who make a commitment to stick with Joe regardless deserve a measure of condemnation. The list for either category is currently pretty short. Kos has it...
On the right side:

Hillary Clinton
Russ Feingold

On the wrong side:

Ken Salazar
A gold star, I suppose, to Feingold for staying out of the primary altogether (Hillary's endorsed Joe over Ned Lamont).

Elsewhere, Atrios reminds us that "opposition to Lieberman isn't just about the Iraq war" and offers a catalog of good reasons to dump Joe, noting that there's "No need to choose just one."

Joe's right about one thing, though, I suppose. Being one of those "blogger types," this is pretty much all the reason I need…

Update: Folks seem to be checking in. Here's the latest from Kos:

Those who would support the Democratic nominee

Hillary Clinton
Howard Dean
Russ Feingold
John Kerry
Bob Menendez

Those who would support a Lieberman independent bid

Ben Nelson
Ken Salazar
Nice to see that Kerry fella up there...

Death is really too good for Ken Lay…

...and the only condolences I can drum up are for the misfortune of being related to the crooked bastard in the first place. I care not a whit how he may rest.

I suppose I'm slightly grateful for the cost savings...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Credit where it's due.

Senator Clinton...
“I’ve known Joe Lieberman for more than thirty years. I have been pleased to support him in his campaign for re-election, and hope that he is our party’s nominee,” the former first lady said in a statement issued by aides.

“But I want to be clear that I will support the nominee chosen by Connecticut Democrats in their primary,” the New York Democrat added. “I believe in the Democratic Party, and I believe we must honor the decisions made by Democratic primary voters.”
Probably the most significant non-monetary contribution a Clinton has ever made to building the Democratic Party. Small penance for the substantial damage of Clintonism, perhaps, but an important, and, frankly, bold move by Hillary.

I know that Russ Feingold beat her to it. Anyone else? Because the question of respect for the Democratic electorate promises to become a litmus test for Democratic Senators.

Identity politics.

Chad from The Left Shue, a Mark Wilson supporter, comments in response to my post about Maria Cantwell's imposing lead in ActBlue contributions over his candidate and offers some creative accounting...
Take Back the Congress in 2006!
Barbara Boxer's Pac for a Change 2265 $84,101.32

The vast majority of Cantwell's donors and dollars are coming via a link from Barbara Boxer's PAC. And then there is this:

Give 'Em Hell Harry
Harry Reid 10 $180.00

So let's see, if somehow the establishment Democrats weren't busy stacking the deck to protect their incumbents (I should mention that Reid is also raising money for Joe Lieberman), I think the score would look more like this:

Cantwell - 8 supporters; $415
Wilson - 37 supporters; $2432
Wow. 2275 people 'disappeared' for the ideological sin of responding to fundraising appeals by "establishment Democrats." (As Minority Leader, I suppose Harry's the definitive establishment Democrat, but back when Boxer joined the Congressional Black Caucus in challenging the Ohio '04 Electoral College ballot, for instance, she seemed like anything but.)

Which leads to my persistent reservations about the notion of the 'netroots,' anyway, unless by the term you mean the managers of BlogPAC and the contributors to the official Netroots ActBlue page (have I mentioned Darcy Burner lately), but that's not really all that many folks. If over 2000 people respond to an email or website appeal from Senator Boxer and make modestl donations (average under $40) via a grassroots web tool like ActBlue to register their response, aren't they a part of the 'netroots' too?

Nice try, Chad, but those 2275 contributors are real people, not straw men, and can't be eliminated with a wave of the 'anti-establishment' wand.

Regardless, now's a fine time to up Maria's tally at the Upper Left ActBlue page.

I love a parade.



If a degree of grassroots support…

...can be divined from ActBlue numbers in Connecticut (and I'm happy to concede the point), then it seems that Maria Cantwell's $84,666.32 from 2282 contributors, compared to her opponent's $2,432.25 from 37 contributors, should quell, to a similar degree, the notion that Maria's got a big problem with the Democratic grassroots.

A sliver of the pacifist left isn't the Democratic grassroots.

poputonian knows Benedict Arnold.

Well, he knows about him, anyway. Stuff I never knew. Stuff you might want to learn.

I heart the internets.

From the Amazing Coincidence department…

Faced with elections that could cost them control of Congress, John A. Boehner, the House majority leader, acknowledged Thursday that Republican leaders are likely to reverse course and hold a vote on a proposed minimum wage increase. Though Boehner said it was a ``cynical ploy" for Democrats to make it a campaign centerpiece, polls indicate that voters clearly favor an increase in the wage, and Boehner acknowledged that GOP leaders are ``probably going to have to find some way to deal with it."

A week earlier, Boehner, an Ohio Republican, all but ruled out allowing a vote on the matter, saying an increase is ``very bad economic policy."
And then...
...Senate Democrats this week threatened to block pay raises for all members of Congress until the minimum wage is increased, vowing that low-income workers should see more in their paychecks before their elected representatives do.
The way to what passes for a Republican heart is apparently through the wallet.

Independence Day truth…

…from Katrina vanden Heuvel...
Central to the defense of this nation is defense of its constitutional values as well as its physical security. To sacrifice the Constitution in the name of "national defense" would be a grave mistake, for it destroys the very nation worthy of defense in the first place. This country has faced perils no less than today's – including those vanquished in a Civil War and World War II – without abandoning that conviction. To abandon it now would disgrace us before those who fought and sacrificed and gave us the gift of this nation.
…and more, from E.J. Dionne...
Most reformers guard their patriotic credentials by moving quickly to the next logical step: that the true genius of America has always been its capacity for self-correction. I'd assert that this is a better argument for patriotism than any effort to pretend that the Almighty has marked us as the world's first flawless nation.
…and that Kerry fella
Patriotism also means dissent — when it's hardest. The bedrock of America's greatest advances–the foundation of what we know today are defining values–was formed not by cheering on things as they were, but by taking them on and demanding change. […]
So, on this Fourth of July, the bottom line is that we will only be stronger if we reclaim America's true character and strength — if we declare our independence from a politics that lets America down –if we truly commit ourselves to the big hearted patriotism determined "to 'make it right' and "keep it right" once again.

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Quote of the day.

"Mike McGavick has to wear George W. Bush like Jimmy Hoffa wore concrete booties."

Washington State Democratic Chair Dwight Pelz

Is there anybody left…

…on our side who has any use for this guy?
Behind the scenes, during a month in which he repeatedly came to Mr. Bush's public defense, Mr. McCain called the president to offer words of support, he recounted in an interview.

"I said, 'Look, hang on, things are bad,' " Mr. McCain said. "I said, 'I'm proud of the job you are doing, and I wanted you to know that I will continue to do what I can to help.'
Heck of a job, Bushie...

2536 dead for a lie.
Rampant, and demonstratively destructive, cronyism.
Leaks for poltical gain at the expense of national security.
A culture of corruption that's yielding a growing list of convictions and indictments.
Accelerating concentration of wealth and erosion of the middle class.
Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
All spun from a seemingly endless spool of fear and hate.

"I'm proud of the job you are doing…"

What a whore.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Million Dollar Darcy?

Sounds like.

Hat tip to Carl.

And now...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A random way... start the day.
Zombies - She's Not There
Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around And Fell In Love
Berline, Crary & Hickman - Bonaparte's Retreat
Greenbriar Boys - Levee Breaking Blues
Woody Guthrie & Cisco Houston - Hard, Ain't It Hard
Joan Baez - Stewball
Del Rey & The Devils - Branded Man
Townes Van Zandt - For The Sake Of The Song
Robbie Fulks - Let's Kill Saturday Night
Flying Burrito Brothers - Dark End Of The Street

Collect the whole set.

Click for more.

Friday, June 30, 2006


Sure. Thanks.

Matt Stoller makes encouraging note of the latest in a string of impressively progressive accomplishments and postions of the junior Senator from the Upper Left...
Maria Cantwell was very much with us on the vote and the underlying bill. Now she's making net neutrality a campaign issue against her opponent, Mike McGavick.
But Matt? Can we just stop this?
Cantwell is not liked among progressives for a variety of reasons…
In fact, while I count myself among those of a 'progressive' (Ill settle for liberal, myself) bent who disagree with Maria on one or more counts, I actually like her quite a bit, and support her re-election enthusiastically. That's a far more typical position, I suspect, than that of the purist minority who are supporting some McGavick surrogate (yep, that nasty binary nature of American politics again. Even those who pledge fealty in November are more than willing to damage Maria now.) Stop piling on. The really important part of that sentence could have just as well stood on its own, even without my emphasis…
she was absolutely with us on this vote. Not only did she vote for net neutrality, she voted against the underlying bill. In other words, having Democrats in the Senate really matters.
But really, thanks. And thanks for this, too...
Kerry in particular has taken this on and become a bulldog, which was quite unexpected.
Of course, it's just what I'd expect.

The lovely and talented…

…Miss Audrey Hepcat notes that the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left's flower beds are in much better shape than my lawn. Off to weed and mow…

Marching orders…

...from the Galactic Council of the blogosphere for the closing hours of Q2. I couldn't agree more. Does that make me a tool? Fine, I'm a tool. Just follow the 'leader'...
...$5 or $10 by its lonesome self means little. But in a people-powered movement, those small donations add up and they do so quickly.

And once a candidate can show broad support, he or she can do two things: 1) prove to the big money donors, labor unions, and PACs that the candidacy is viable and worthy of higher level support, and 2) build a list for future activism and fundraising. Richard Morrison in 2004 took the $80K we raised for him directly and turned that in $480K by the end of the campaign.

Yeah, that means if you donate that they'll hit you up for money again. But here's the beauty of people-power -- would you rather they be working their butts off to inspire you into giving more money, or would you rather they be talking to corporate donors to get them to open up?

We have a big money political system. It may not be ideal, but we're stuck with it for the time being. So the questions becomes, who do you want the candidates and politicians to become responsive to? There are two options -- corporate interests or people. That $5 contribution goes a long way to helping politicians shake off the corrosive and undue influence of corporate interests.

So at least one candidate, even if it's just $5. Not everyone can give a lot of money, not everyone can donate time. But everyone can give $5.

That contribution will never have as much impact to a campaign than today.

The Upper Left Act Blue page is conveniently located right here. Live large, spread around a twenty.

In plain English...

LT. CMDR. CHARLES SWIFT, SALIM AHMED HAMDAN‘S LAWYER: At stake was the rule of law. The president had staked out a position that was contrary both to international law and to our domestic statutes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. What the court did was say that even the president has to follow the law. And that if we‘re going to try people, we‘re going to do it under the law, not under an ad hoc system.


No wonder this guy won.

Win valuable prizes!

And strike a blow for a Democratic Senate. Josh Marshall...
So here's the deal. We're holding a contest to see who can get a straight answer out of Mike McGavick on Social Security -- against phase out or in favor of it. To the winner goes a special TPM 'Privatize This' t-shirt, a TPM mug and…and a special place in our new TPM Hall of Social Security Heroes…
Be a shame if this doesn't go to some upper leftian...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A quick hurrah…

…as the Supreme Court strikes a blow for "justice for all…"
The Supreme Court today delivered a stunning rebuke to the Bush administration over its plans to try Guantanamo detainees before military commissions, ruling that the commissions are unconstitutional.

In a 5-3 decision, the court said the trials were not authorized under U.S. law or the Geneva Conventions. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion in the case, called Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. recused himself from the case.
The inclusion of the Geneva Conventions, affirming the status of treaties as a part of US law, seems to have some broad and encouraging implications for the possibility of the Court assuming its proper role in reigning in an Executive gone wild.

The men don't know…

…but the little kids understand, sez the Senior Senator from the Upper Left.
"This is about taking responsibility when you mess up. That's something even little kids understand."
As the recipient of a letter from the VA warning me that my own records may have been among those compromised by the institutional neglect and incompetence of yet another branch of Bushco, I applaud Senator Patty Murray's leadership on finding a fast and fair way to provide a measure of protection to all who've been affected.

Clearly, the administration hasn't found such a plan yet, as weeks go by since the belated disclosure of the data losses at the VA. Steve Benen sums up the problems with their approach so far...
It was bad enough Bush's VA was so careless with the information. It was worse when the administration hasn't quite sure what it had lost, even a month later.

But this response on veterans' behalf is truly amazing. The Bush administration is willing to pay for a year of free credit monitoring, but to pay for it, officials wanted to take money from accounts that pay for veterans' health care. When Dems shamed them into backing down, the Bush gang said it'd instead pay for the monitoring by taking money from job training, student loans, and a farmers' assistance program.
Seems to me that the sacrifice of a few of the pork barrel earmarks that have been such a linchpin to the entire Republican culture of corruption might provide more than enough money, without putting a kid out of school or a family off the farm.

And where'd this sudden Republican enthusiasm for pay-go come from?

Keep up the fight, Patty, and thanks.

Ya think?

Steve Soto...
Yes, the Democrats are inept at making the case why they need to be returned to power in Congress. But will they back their way into control this fall simply because they are not rubber-stamping Republicans? A new Pew poll out yesterday indicates that this is possible.
Steve apparently thinks that Democrats are 'backing in' because so much of their support is coming from voters who're fed up with the Preznit...
…Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those who plan to vote for the Democratic candidate in their district think of their vote this fall as a vote against George W. Bush. These anti-Bush voters are significantly more motivated to vote - 52% say they are more eager to vote this year than usual, compared with 39% among those who say Bush is not a factor in their vote.
..but couldn't be taken as a signal of the Congressional Democrats success in driving home key points in their campaign for a new majority? Democrats have argued that the Republican Congress is a rubber stamp for the administration, and that arguement seems to have taken hold. It seems to me that translating antipathy for Bush into support for Democratic candidates is a major step in the process of nationalizing the mid-term election, a step seen by many as critical to Democratic success.

It's time to take of the hair shirt. Somehow or another, the Congressional Democrats are having real success in convincing America that, dare I say it, we can do better.

Together, even.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

As amended…

Attaturk has more quotes re-misrembered.

Hat tip to Mr. Natural.

More Darcy love…

…from the DNC blog (did you know she's a rocker?).
...Darcy Burner is turning heads and picking up major steam. A week ago EMILY'S List endorsed her. Her Rubberstamp Republican opponent has been lagging behind so badly he needed President Bush to make an emergency visit to help him fundraise before the end of the quarter. Darcy Burner is the real deal, she's on her way to Congress and Washington is lucky to have her.
And, of course, another obligatory ActBlue link.

I'm gratified, I suppose…

…that there's still a sufficient minority in the United States Senate to prevent the dismemberment of the Bill of Rights that they are all sworn to protect and defend. I'm gravely disappointed that that minority doesn't include the 14 Democratic Senators who lacked either the courage to uphold their oaths or the discernment to see exactly how damaging their vote on the flag desecration amendment would be.

My disappointment is barely lifted by the knowledge that only three Republicans seem to understand that the minute "Congress shall make no law…" becomes "Congress shall make only the laws it wishes…" we are lost. The time of civil liberties as an American birthright will have passed.

I am proud, of course, that our Senators from the Upper Left, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, stood with the Constitution and for the protection of our rights.

And for all y'all that think everything that Kerry fella does is about Presidential politics, the Hotline notes that "...Kerry eschewed an Iowa visit in order to stay in Washington to vote against the flag-burning amendment."

Where we needed him, when we needed him. Again.

Hey, don't take my word for it.

It's in The Hill (via Darryl)...
If Democrats are going to win control of the House, candidates like Darcy Burner must unseat Republican incumbents like freshman Rep. Dave Reichert (Wash.).
…and at MyDD
Darcy Burner, whose campaign has been propelled nearly into top tier status almost entirely by the amazing netroots scene in the Northwest. Facing a Republican freshmen in a district that is trending blue, we can't win a real majority in Congress unless our movement candidate in the northwest can bring this one home.
This is the race all the buzz is about. This is one we've got to win.

The Q2 deadline is just around the corner. You can help Darcy keep the momentum of the high mark in she set in Q1, outpacing Brand W Dave. Dave's buddy Bush raised him a bunch of bucks this month, though, and it'll take all we can do to prove to George Bush that he can't buy WA-8.

Contribute to Darcy at the Upper Left ActBlue page (and to any or all of the other fine candidates and committees you'll find there, if you're inclined).

Just wondering...

If the DC Court of Appeals had ruled against Jim McDermott instead of for him, do you think the PI would have buried the story on page B-4 of the print edition?

Missed the paper Times yesterday. What did they do with the story?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Glenn Greenwald looks at Bushco's latest round of "Look! Shiny thing!"...
Claims that The New York Times (and other newspapers which published stories about this program) disclosed information about banking surveillance which could help terrorists are factually false. Nobody can identify a single sentence in any of these stories which disclosed meaningful information that terrorists would not have previously known or which they could use to evade detection. To the extent that it is (ludicrously) asserted that the more they are reminded of such surveillance, the more they will remember it, nobody has spoken more openly and publicly about the Government's anti-terrorism surveillance programs than a campaigning George Bush.
The Times hasn't disclosed anything new, and the response isn't new either. It's just more of the same old politics of fear, hate and lies. That's all they have left. That's why…

Sure, it's a ways off…

…and there's an important election in between, but a lot of us are thinking about '08 and some of us are closer to decisions than others. Ezra makes a good point...
As the primaries heat up and allegiances cement, the blogs really will be ripped apart by warring partisans, all the more so if folks refuse to divulge, but nevertheless exhibit, their preferences. My guess is that, going forward, transparency is the best policy, and we'd all be well-served by a willingness to calmly accept (and even respond to) speculation about the thought processes driving our commentary.
…and follows it up with his own '08 rankings. I'll bite. Using his list of potential candidates, here's how things look from the Upper Left, as of now...

1) John Kerry (surprised?)
2) Russ Feingold *
3) Wesley Clark *


4) John Edwards
5) Tom Daschle

Leaning Negative:

6) Hillary Clinton
7) Al Gore
8) Bill Richardson
9) Joe Biden
10) Tom Vilsack
11) Mark Warner
12) Evan Bayh
13) Chris Dodd

(* - I like these guys well enough, but I just can't bring myself to believe. Still, if they're around for the primary election debate season, they'll elevate the discourse and have a potentially salutary effect on the Party message.)
This far out, everything's subject to change, and I'm not endorsing anyone at this point, but if Kerry runs, someone's going to have to be pretty damn appealing to get me to turn my head.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I don't care what you think…

…about Jim McDermott (actually, I do care. Quite a bit, in fact. But that's another topic for another time), if you have any concern for the 1st Amendment or for what's left of whistle blower protections at what passes for a 'Justice' department these days, this is good news...
A federal appeals court has agreed to hear new arguments in a case involving an illegally taped telephone call leaked to reporters by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.

In an announcement late Monday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said all nine judges will hear McDermott’s appeal of the taped call case, which dates back nearly a decade. Arguments will be heard in September, the court said.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled in March that McDermott violated federal law by turning over the tape recording of a 1996 call involving then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.
Goldy gets right to the potential loss for all of us should McDermott lose this one…
Wanna put me out of business? Slip me an illegally obtained legal document and then sue away. Imagine the chilling effect if journalists, bloggers and private citizens risked financial ruin for passing on information of vital public interest.
Jim McDermott could have settled away his, and our, 1st Amendment rights for a pittance years ago. Instead, he's put himself at real financial risk and suffered a decade long roller coaster ride through the courts. He has been, quite literally, our hero in this entire matter, from his original disclosure of the unethical conduct of Republican leaders like Newt Gingrich and John Boehner through the entire costly, tedious distraction of Boehner's continued assault on the Bill of Rights via the civil courts.

You can find Jim on the Upper Left Act Blue page. Toss him a celebratory buck or two if you can.

Something to look at…

…while I wipe the coffee off my screen.

The General, of course.

If you were away for the weekend…

…you may have missed the brouhaha that erupted between Kos and Jason Zengerle, which ballooned somehow into a discussion of whether The New Republic is simply a hotbed of neo-cons or has devolved into actual fascism. Something like that.

At any rate, while it was hard to sift the evidence from the ad hominem from the evidence, there was just such an effort in some quarters. If you're looking to catch up, the work of Ron Chusid over at the Democratic Daily demonstrates enough skepticism about both sides of the debate to provide an even keel.

In fact, as disappointing as TNR can be on many issues, attacking the magazine doesn't address real questions that were posed by, but hardly originated, by Zengerle's original post.

One of them, whether there's some kind of political payola arrangement between Kos and Jerome, was answered in definite terms last night by Jerome himself at MyDD...
Update [2006-6-25 8:44:56 by Jerome Armstrong]: Let me just state for the record that any payola allegations, of some quid pro quo scam involving Markos and I, are complete fabrications...
I accept that at face value. I never believed it in the first place. Neil the Ethical Werewolf, though, warns that Kos may just be getting played rather than paid...
I'm not saying that Kos is getting paid off by the Warner campaign. (Though since Jerome has been on the getting end of these payments in the past, I wouldn't be surprised if he's interested in being on the giving side.) There's a simpler explanation. Maybe Kos is just another gullible Bluepoint investor who trusts and admires Jerome, and is buying an internet stock for a lot more than it's worth, on Jerome's recommendation. We ought to be suspicious of pro-Warner comments Kos makes in the future. You don't just have to beware the guy who's willing to mislead you for financial gain -- you have to beware the guy who listens to him.
Of course, we all should be suspicious, or skeptical, at least, of most anything we read on the internets. In fact, one of the things that surprised a lot of folks, but shouldn't have, is that there's some measure of back channel communication and cooperation between major bloggers and other politicos, and that that communication is intended to, and does, to various degrees, affect the agenda of the lefty blogosphere.

It's hardly surprising that in any human endeavor involving large numbers, there will be cliques and factions. Some will be more influential than others. In truth, any back channel effort to suppress anything these days is a fool's errand. One thing the development on the current on-line environment has produced is a relative certainty that the story, without particular regard to it's merit, will get out.

Of course, the whole notion of a blogger cabal directing everything from on high, the electronic Illuminati, if you will, is deserving of mockery. Whatever powers may be can plot and scheme and strategize to their heart's delight. I can still wake up and write about anything I damn well please, and so can you. That's the beauty of what we do, and what folks who don't get what we do don't get.

So another question, whether Kos was trying to kill a story to help a friend, becomes irrelevant in the face of the cold fact that Kos can't kill a story.

Of course, speculation about Jerome's influence on Kos will continue until Kos comes up with a better answer to "Why Warner?" that "He's terrific, you'll see." The reporting of Jerome's troubles with the SEC raises questions mostly relevant only to those who pay for his advice. Bloggers will continue to gather both offline and on and talk about what we should be talking about, and it will continue to matter very little to most of us.

There were fair questions raised by Zengerle. There seem to be reasonable answers to most of them, too. Maybe in the future we can skip the whole Rovian sideshow of attack, obfuscation and redirecting the question (thankfully, it seems to have stopped just shy of violating Godwin's Law this time around) and go straight to the answers.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Do not pass go…

…just head straight to Crooks And Liars and collect your own copy of Bruce Springsteen's performance of the anti-war chestnut "Bring 'Em Home." I have fond memories of Barbara Dane's version during Vietnam days, but Bruce, well, just go see...

And now...

Another blogging conspiracy?

I've been thinking that the silliest part of the Kos v. TNR dustup is the notion that there are a bunch of lefty bloggers just waiting for marching orders from Markos. Actually, if you pick your spots and do it right, Kos bashing can be a real traffic builder. It's not the viewer goldmine that Dean bashing was back in the glory days, but there's always been a regular chant of "You're not the boss of me" directed at Kos and, well, anyone who shows the slightest glimmer of asserting leadership in the blogosphere (even when they're as determinably self-effacing as Kos in the attempt).

I was thinking that, until I noticed the behavior of some upper lefty bloggers in relation to our home-grown uber-blogger. For instance, just last night Goldy asked Darryl from Hominid Views to come on the radio with him, and Darryl dutifully followed the leader onto the air. Once in the KIRO studio, Goldy told people to call in and talk to him, and sure enough, there was Will from Pike Place Politics, calling in per the Goldian dictate.

Will brought up a subject that prompted Goldy to advise Darryl to respost a link at Hominid Views, and sure enough, Darryl did it!

Now I'm writing about all of them, which is probably just what Goldy wants. There's just no escape...

(Come to think of it, isn't it kind of funny how the typically omnipresent Carl, he of the secret identity that is known only to those who've bothered to find out, has kept himself out of all this? Curiouser and curiouser…)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Is this what heaven is like?

You know, a place where you can turn on the radio and listen to a talk show host say "I'm a liberal Democrat" in unequivocal terms?

I suppose lots of upper lefties are used to it since David Goldstein got his Sunday night gig on KIRO, but I work on Sunday nights, and lefty talk radio isn't ideal barroom entertainment. Maybe in heaven.

Anyway, Goldy's on the radio, subbing for the vacationing Saturday regular, so I finally get a chance to tune in and there's no doubt about it, he's a pro. The prize for the savvy pro performance of the night, though, goes to Rep. Jay Inslee, the first guest of the evening.

Out of the blue, but somehow perfectly within context, Jay name-dropped Darcy Burner, with an unpromted endorsement of the next Member of Congress from the 8th District of Washington, calling her...
"…one of the most impressive candidates we have in the country this year."
It was just one of the highlights of Jay's ability to return our eyes to the prize, the need for a new Congress, over and over, regardless of the direction that Goldy or the callers may have wanted to pursue. He did it, though, without ducking questions or actually changing the subject, but by making the new Congress part of every answer, and element of every subject.

Jay Inslee just may be the best politician in the State of Washington.

Another number...


And another, soon. That's the Republican plan.

Two or three new American dead a day.

Every day.

Forever and ever.

Except when it's worse.


Late night...

...err...early morning random ten.
astroPuppees - Little Chick Tsunami
Etta James - At Last
Victoria Williams - Since I Laid My Burden Down
Mavis Staples - I'll Take You There
Dixie Hummingbirds - I Bid You Goodnight
Buffalo Springfield - Bluebird
Jimmy Buffett - Boat Drinks
Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen - Hot Rod Lincoln
Donovan - Season Of The Witch
Dr. John - Rockin' Pneumonia>High Blood Pressure>Happy Times>Don't You Just

Friday, June 23, 2006

Darcy did it!

And then some.

Which, of course, no reason you shouldn't give a little more...


...but this ain't horshoes.

Help put Darcy over the top!

Atrios is probably right.

There probably are bloggers out there who hate the "A-listers" for any or all of these reasons...
1) A-list bloggers have shitty blogs that no one should read but people just read them because they've been around for so long.
2) A-list bloggers are supporting the wrong candidates/causes. They are doing X, but they should be doing Y.
3) A-list bloggers suck up all the attention from better bloggers who everyone should be reading.
4) A-list bloggers end up representing the "netroots" but they shouldn't.
5) A-list bloggers aren't generous enough with their links and should be providing more publicity for other bloggers.
6) A-list bloggers are stupid and they're ugly and nobody likes them.
I don't buy 1-3 at all, myself. If the best writers don't get read, it's because blogging is more than writing. A-list bloggers are typically good writers, but they're often better promoters. I could probably boost the readership here, for instance, if I quit working on Tuesdays, joined the local Kewl Kidz club at Drinking Liberally and strong-armed my way into a podcast or two, or turned some of my posts into Kos diaries, or dropped more comments on other blogs or, well, there are a lot of ways to pump up the numbers. None, in my experience, quite as good as a link from Atrios, but lots.

And everyone's got a right to support anyone, as far as I'm concerned.

4 has a bit more resonance with me, but only because I still view the "netroots" as a mythological beast.

5 is, well, true, but hardly grounds for hate.

6 is what it is.

None of them, of course, have anything to do with the questions surrounding Jerome Armstrong's trouble with the SEC, Kos' relationship with Jerome and Kos' back channel efforts to kill the SEC story. One reason I've never bothered to blog anonymously is that I long ago discovered what Kos is apparently just learning - eventually everybody finds out everything about everyone, and the higher your profile, the faster you're likely to be found out.

Markos and Jerome, whether against their will and intentions or not, are popularly viewed as leaders of us all, even those of us who frequently dissent from their views and activities. That position comes with a burden, and it comes with rewards. Jerome's consultancy is thriving, with a well known, well heeled cilent. Kos makes a better than average living as a full time blogger, part time author.

If Jerome is forestalled from denying guilt under the terms of his SEC settlement, that's still not cause to bury the story, because it's a bigger story than Jerome's settlement by virtue of his high profile as a consultant and Kos' as a blogger. That may not be fair, but it's true.

There are legitimate questions that deserve forthright answers. How much faith we put in those answers will depend not only on what they are, but on how and when they're forthcoming. I'm not in a position to judge anyone at this point, I'm still at the "hmmm" stage. It's silly, though, to pretend that there aren’t legitimate questions, or that Jason Zengerle and his cohorts are some kind of right-wing trolls for raising them.

One thing that I'm kind of surprised that Atrios is so surprised about, though, is that Kos gets " surprisingly little credit for the fact that he's provided a platform which allows literally anyone to reach immense numbers of readers per day in an almost entirely community-run platform. " Heck, so does Blogspot, and I don't have to see their ads next to my words unless I want to.

From the "Me too" file…

Tom Schaller, guest blogging at The Carpetbagger Report
I actually think both Dean and Emanuel can be right—that it is not a mutually-exclusive choice. To explain:

As I understand it, Dean’s 50-state strategy calls for a minimum floor in each state which will essentially prevent the Democrats from (a) ever being caught totally unprepared and unarmed if, suddenly, a death or scandal or retirement provides a great opportunity; (b) having to reinvent the wheel every two years by having a semi-permanent staff—or at least a rotating permanent staff, with institutional memory and data and contacts and experience passed along—so that the party does not have to suffer the inefficiencies of starting anew each cycle.

This makes perfect sense. Dean is calling for a mininum floor, not an overhead ceiling. If, on the other hand, he were calling for an equal distribution of DNC resources—or worse, a proportional, population-based distribution of resources—I’d be the first respond by calling for him to get a CAT-scan.

Meanwhile, Emanuel is right, too: A party concentrates its resources based on its best risk-reward assessment of the present state of play. Will that mean sometimes dumping money into what turns out to be a lost cause (think Babbit’s run against Renzi in 2004) or, conversely, missing what could have been a great opportunity (think Gore in Ohio in 2000)? Of course. But if Ike had decided to distribute our troops evenly across every inch of the French coast, rather than concentrating on Normandy, we might all be speaking German right now. You target as best you can, work hard, and hope most of the breaks go your way. That’s applying the basics of game theory to modern politics, and we need more of that kind of thinking.
Different approaches for different jobs, maybe, but a common purpose. We've got lots to do. Lots of different things, in different ways, by different folks. That's why we have a DNC and a DcCC and a DSCC.

Of course, they all need and deserve our support. That's why all of the above are on the Upper Left ActBlue page.

Getting closer...

...but we still need to dig a little deeper for Darcy.

OK, so it's past noon...

...and the bed's not made. I blame the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat.

Actually, old soldiers do die…

...and when the enlistment standards of our armed forces are compromised in order to accommodate brand new old soldiers, more young soldiers are likely to die, too...
People can now volunteer to serve in the active-duty Army or the part-time Army Reserve and National Guard up to their 42nd birthday after the move aimed at increasing the number of people eligible to sign up, officials said.

It marked the second time this year the Army has boosted the maximum age for new volunteers, raising the ceiling from age 35 to 40 in January before now adding two more years.
I've been an Army trainee, and I've been 42. I can't imagine being both at the same time. It's not just a matter of physical aging. We're different people at 42 than at 19, or should be. More likely to say "Why, sir?" than "Yes, sir!" More conscious of our mortality. More vested in our homes and families.

Is there an exceptional 42 year old or two that is a truly suitable candidate for service? Maybe.

Should those exceptional cases be the standard for military policy, or will accommodating them likely weaken our forces?

Just six months ago the limit was seven years younger. Were we really that wrong six months ago?

I hate what they've done to my Army.

Getting it done...

...for Darcy.

When Brand W Dave Reichert needed to beef up the bankroll, he called on Bush. He knows, after all, who he works for, and he wants to get paid.

Darcy Burner's response was to turn to the folks she intends to work for - us. She set a goal of $75,000 within a week of George Bush's pilgrimage to Medina (that's less than the cost of ten of the 8x10 glossies the Preznit was peddling), and today's the last day. The goal is in reach...

...but there's not enought time left for direct mail or phone banks or a big fundraising bash. There's just us. And there's just now.

Click here and get it done for Darcy...and for all of us.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

OK, it's simple now.

If you want to know the Democratic position on the occupation of Iraq, see the Levin Amendment.

If you want to know Maria Cantwell's position on the occupation of Iraq, see the Levin Amendment.

Of course, I'd rather see her name on the list of thirteen that voted for Kerry-Feingold...

The Kerry-Feingold Honor Roll

Sen. Daniel Akaka
Sen. Barbara Boxer
Sen. Richard Durbin
Sen. Russ Feingold
Sen. Tom Harkin
Sen. Daniel Inouye
Sen. James Jeffords
Sen. Edward Kennedy
Sen. John Kerry
Sen. Frank Lautenberg
Sen. Patrick Leahy
Sen. Robert Menendez
Sen. Ron Wyden

Just the same, that's over a quarter of the Democratic Senate at the leading edge. That's something.

Maria's vote for the Levin Amendment is something. too. Enough of something to make plain once and for all her differences with the stay and pay, lie and die course we're on in Iraq. You can fault her position for any number of reasons, from lack of urgency to insufficient contrition. Fair enough.

You can't say she supports Bush's war.

It's simple.

Democrats have a plan.

Maria's on board.

And the Republicans?

Still without a clue.

So, which side are you on?

Speaking of hungry…


...George W. Bush’s job approval numbers have jumped significantly to 36%, as a nation hungry for good news out of Iraq was finally served a morsel, a new Zogby International poll shows.

"Jumped." "Significantly."

Sure. Five points in a poll with a ±3.1% MOE. To slightly over 1/3 support.

Uh huh.

Sounds like the hunger is to find some good news in the polls, and Zogby serves up a morsel of his own.

Let's face it. If Bush can't hold the NASCAR vote, there is no good news in his polls.

"A smear…

…wrapped in the veneer of journalism.
While I wouldn't call it a swift-boating myself, preferring to reserve the term for more direct attacks on the service record or patriotism of veterans, Diane at Tough Enough does a fine job of dissecting Kate Zernike's shoddy journalism (see my own thoughts below).

That Kerry fella may be the target this time, but it could be any Democrat. If we don't call them on it, every time, regardless of the target, eventually it will be every Democrat.

Kudos to one of Upper Left's favorite Bostonians.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It's time to get serious.

It's time to choose up sides. The Rasmussen Report looks at the Washington Senate race...
Thanks largely to her support for the war in Iraq, electoral support for Senator Maria Cantwell (D) has slipped once again—for the fifth survey in a row.

In the latest Rasmussen Reports poll of an increasingly competitive U.S. Senate race, Senator Cantwell now leads former Safeco CEO Mike McGavick (R) 44% to 40%.
Although Maria's numbers among Democrats are strong enough at 82% to insure her nomination, her numbers against McGavick have slipped 8% since last November, when she had a seemingly secure 52%. Where might 8% of her support might have gone? Rasmussen reports...
...8% of Democrats now say they would vote for another candidate altogether given a Cantwell-McGavick match-up. Only 1% of GOP voters feel that way.
If you count yourself among that 8%, can you really count yourself in the Democratic Party? Because Maria Cantwell is the Democratic candidate for the US Senate. The next Senator will be Maria or the Republican.

There are no other choices. Sorry about the sharply binary nature of American politics in the 21st century, but there it is.

Which side are you on?

Inside the Kewl Kidz Klubhouse…

Jason Zengerle offers a peek.


Taking a page from Uncle Karl…

...Kate Zernike offers up some pure Rovian spin in a NYT piece with the provocative headline On Iraq, Kerry Again Leaves Democrats Fuming.


Well, maybe, but there's no evidence in the article that supports the idea.

In fact, Zernike admits that "Senate Democrats have been loath to express their opinions publicly, determined to emphasize a united front." That can't be so, though because "interviews suggest a frustration with Mr. Kerry."

"…suggest a frustration." That's barely a brief whisp passing in the breeze, let alone fumes.

It's true that Democrats are having an open and healthy debate on a redeployment plan for Iraq. That's because there are some things about the occupation that Democrats needn't debate any longer. Democratic Leader Harry Reid puts it succinclty…
"One thing the Democrats agree on is that this war has taken too long, is too expensive and has cost too many lives."
The message is clear and there are stark differences. Those stark differences, though, aren't between Democrats. The clear message from the Senate Democrats is that they are looking for a way out of Iraq while the Republicans offer nothing but the same old stay and spend, lie and die policy, apparently forever.

The Democratic message, though, doesn't quite fit the Rovian re-election script. Whenever you read a piece like Zernike's, remember this sound counsel from Chuck Todd (emphasis mine)...
What the Republicans have to fear going into the midterms is the casual voter, aka "independents." And the midterm elections are where the power of these casual voters are most evident. A successful candidate running in a non-presidential year is the one that recruits the most casual voters to his or her side. In this case, the Republicans are banking on depressing casual Democratic voters to the point that they won't vote, or that they believe their vote in 2006 won't matter, because the party they think they side with seems disorganized or lacking a voice.
Don't buy the Republican lie.

Democrats agree.

It's been too long.

It's too expensive.

Too many have died.

We have a position.

We're working on a plan.

And the Republicans haven't got a clue.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The "F"…

…is for failure.

The "W" is for wrong.

Do your bit for Darcy Burner.

Hat tip to CoolAqua.

Frame of the day.

That Kerry fella
...they're going to try to make the elections in November a choice between "cut and run" and "stay the course". That's not the choice. My plan is not "cut and run." Their plan is "lie and die."
Good to see the L word come out of the holster.

Hat tip to the Carpetbagger Report.

Piling on.

Joe Klein's getting bashed from pillar to post around the lefty blogosphere today for all manner of wankerism today , and all if it's well deserved. There's a point in his latest, though, that deserves more attention. As awful as "embracing defeat" as a depiction of a withdrawal strategy for Iraq may be (see Professor Cole below), his slanderous depiction - a mass swift-boating of sorts - of Democrats is worse in my eyes…
"...embracing defeat is a risky political strategy, especially for a party not known for its warrior ethic."
Once again...

Service in the Armed Forces


John Murtha: Colonel, USMC (ret), Bronze Star, 2 Purple Hearts
Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
Al Gore: Army, Vietnam.
Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V,Purple Hearts.
Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam.
Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,and Soldier's Medal.
Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
Chuck Robb: Vietnam
Howell Heflin: Silver Star
George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters.
Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.


Dick Cheney: did not serve.
Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
Tom Delay: did not serve.
Roy Blunt: did not serve.
Bill Frist: did not serve.
Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
Rick Santorum: did not serve.
Trent Lott: did not serve.
John Ashcroft: did not serve.
Jeb Bush: did not serve.
Karl Rove: did not serve.
Saxby Chambliss: did not serve.
Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
Vin Weber: did not serve.
Richard Perle: did not serve.
Douglas Feith: did not serve.
Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
Richard Shelby: did not serve.
Jon! Kyl: did not serve.
Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
Christopher Cox: did not serve.
Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard
B-1 Bob Dornan: enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
Phil Gramm: did not serve.
Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
John M. McHugh: did not serve.
Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem, " although continued in NFL for 8 years as quarterback.
Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
George Pataki: did not serve.
Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
John Engler: did not serve.
Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.
I gotcher "warrior ethic" right here, Joe.

(And oh yeah, My Own Personal Congressman, Lieutenant Commander Jim McDermott, US Navy, 1968-70)

"Stay and Stay, and Spend and Spend?"

Juan Cole nails it. Go read.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Someone remind me…

…why should I be excited about this guy?
GORE: "I am not involved. I typically do not get involved in Democratic primaries. Joe is my close friend, Joe & Hadassah are close to Tipper and me and it would be very difficult for me to ever oppose him. But I don't get involved in primaries typically. He's a great guy and he's right on a lot of other issues."
Of course, the last time Joe Lieberman was in a primary race Al Gore rather famously, if atypically, opposed him. How'd that work out?

As I've said, the movie's probably great, if not really groundbreaking. I'm glad Al's got a productive way to spend his time. His aptitude for character judgement, though? Seriously in doubt. And those "other issues"? Yeah, I used to say that, too.

It's not the issues, though, that have put so many Democrats off Holy Joe. It's the persistence of images like this…

…and, of course, the continued threat that Joe will bolt the Party if the voters displease him.

When Al Gore's talking about Joe Lieberman, the topic shouldn't be endorsements or issues, it should be an apology long overdue for elevating the sanctimonious little squeaky toy in the first place.

Update: On reflection, that sounds a bit grumpy, doesn't it? Here, then, for the sake of ending on a positive note.
Ned Lamont

"…virtually abandoned…"

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, which is vowing to crack down on U.S. companies that hire illegal workers, virtually abandoned such employer sanctions before it began pushing to overhaul U.S. immigration laws last year, government statistics show.
How virtual?
In 1999, the United States initiated fines against 417 companies. In 2004, it issued fine notices to three.
George Bush doesn't care about the border.

George Bush doesn't care about you.

Profit and power. That's it. That's all he cares about.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A bird shirt…

…from the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left and a terrific new coffee mug (I'm actually fussier about the mug I drink from than the coffee I fill it with) and the new Dixie Chicks albu CD (damn, I'm getting old) from the Endlessly Endearing Elder Daughter of Upper Left and her Equally Pleasing Partner, knowing The Boys are fit and fine, and being grandpa to the Smartest and Prettiest Girl In The World and, of course, The Quarterback...

I hope all y'all Dads out there are having a Father's Day as fine as mine.

And now...