Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oh frabjous day!

Via Political Wire...
Sen. Maria Cantwell's (D-WA) poll numbers "have improved for the first time in months," according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. Cantwell now leads challenger Mike McGavick (R) by 11 percentage points, 48% to 37%.
Now we need to drive that number above 50%.

Just wondering...

...how many generations a family has to be in the States to lose 'exile' status? Two? Three?

My grandfather slipped out of Ireland in the face of a cruel occupation. So, am I still an Irish exile or are they finally Cuban Americans?

Monday, July 31, 2006

You say Boehner…

…I say boner. The Majority Leader
"Our economic engine is firing on all cylinders, but too many American families are still feeling the pinch of rising health care costs, high gas prices, steep college tuition rates, and uncertainty about their retirement savings."
Health care, energy prices, education costs and pension security aren't cylinders in the Republican economic engine?

Of course not, because Republicans just don't care about you.

Too late for a tune-up. It's time for a trade in.

Confession.

Sure, there's the war, and The Kiss, and waffling on Social Security and so much more.

The bottom line, though, is that I'm pulling for Ned Lamont in the Connecticut primary because every time I hear Joe Lieberman's name or see his picture, the first words that pop into my mind are "sanctimonious little prick."

Every time.

And I'm just sick to death of him.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

And now...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

"There's no Audrey!"

...cried the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left in (not quite) mock horror. Hence, supplemental Saturday cat blogging, featuring the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat...

Well, yeah...

...what he said, pretty much.

Except I remember my side thinking we were the insurgents, defending against a counter-revolution or something. I think every side believes that in every intra-Party dustup.

Just part of what makes Party politics so much fun, I guess.

And come November? What he said. We're all Democrats.


(Hold it. If I'm agreeing about our disagreements, does that mean we are a monolith?)

A pleasing degree of diversity…

…in this week's random ten.
Townes Van Zandt - Dollar Bill Blues
Neil Young - Southern Man
Joan Baez - Long Black Veil
George Jones - The Race Is On
Tom Jones & The Cardigans - Burning Down The House
Donovan - Catch The Wind
Hank Williams - Half As Much
Tom Paxton - Who Will Feed The People
Bob Marley - One Love/People Get Ready
Booker T. & The MGs - Soul Dressing

Friday, July 28, 2006

Of course, the perp just a nut.

Of course.
At least five people were shot - one fatally - this afternoon at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle by a man a witness said was upset about "what was going on in Israel."
Because we all know that attacks on the politics and policy of Israel don't have anything to do with anti-Semitism in America.

Of course.

Quote of the Day.

"Brown should consider himself a lucky man. Had I known before the hearing that he was up in Baton Rouge ordering steaks on his government credit card at the same time the people of South Mississippi were resorting to police-sanctioned looting to feed themselves, I would have done more than just verbally kick his butt."

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Mississippi), doing a heck of a job on the former FEMA Director.

Hat tip to scout_prime.

Six for '06

REAL SECURITY AT HOME AND OVERSEAS: Reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world. Require the Iraqis to take responsibility for their country and begin the phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq in 2006. Double the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. Rebuild a state-of-the-art military capable of projecting power wherever necessary. Implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America’s borders and ports and screen 100% of containers. Fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders. Honor our commitments to our veterans.

BETTER AMERICAN JOBS - BETTER PAY: Prohibit the Congressional pay raise until the nation’s minimum wage is raised. End tax give-aways that reward companies for moving American jobs overseas.

COLLEGE ACCESS FOR ALL: Make college tuition deductible from taxes, permanently. Cut student loan interest rates. Expand Pell Grants.

ENERGY INDEPENDENCE - LOWER GAS PRICES: Free America from dependence on foreign oil and create a cleaner environment with initiatives for energy-efficient technologies and domestic alternatives such as biofuels. End tax giveaways to Big Oil companies and enact tough laws to stop price gouging.

AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE - LIFE-SAVING SCIENCE: Fix the Medicare prescription drug program, putting seniors first by negotiating lower drug prices and ending wasteful giveaways to drug companies and HMOs. Promote stem cell research that offers real hope to millions of American families who suffer from devastating diseases.

RETIREMENT SECURITY AND DIGNITY: Stop any plan to privatize Social Security, in whole or in part. Enact real pension reform to protect employees’ financial security from CEO corruption and mismanagement, including abuse of the bankruptcy laws. Expand personal savings incentives.
All in all, I like it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Caption contest...

Fun fact.

The chairman of the Alabama Republican Party is named Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh.

And they accuse liberals of living in the 60s...

Hat tip to Holden.

Not him.

...I would like to remove my name from the list of scientists who dispute global warming. I know my coauthors would as well.

Peter Doran, Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago.

Money!

…for Mike! Andrew's got the goods.
· Insurance Industry: In addition to McGavick’s illegal $28 million golden parachute from his time as an insurance CEO, members of the insurance industry have shelled out more than $275,000—almost $65,000 in new FEC disclosures alone—directly to bankroll McGavick’s campaign. McGavick previously served as a lobbyist for the American Insurance Association, and his contributions from the insurance industry top all other special interest funders of his campaign.

· Big Oil: McGavick, a big supporter of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, raked in another $8500 from the PACs of big oil – including another $4000 from ExxonMobil’s PAC ($5000 total to date), $2000 from BP’s PAC and $2500 from Conoco Phillips’s PAC.

· Halliburton: McGavick accepted $1000 from Halliburton’s PAC, even as the company remains mired in scandal relating to abuse surrounding no-bid contracts Iraq and ties to veep Dick Cheney’s secret energy task force.

· Social Security Privatizers: McGavick raked in another $4000 from the Financial Services Roundtable PAC, for a total of $5000 to date. The Roundtable is a group of approximately 100 CEOs of the largest financial services companies in the nation, who are at the forefront of the push for Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. The Roundtable has already hosted two separate fundraisers for McGavick.

· Rx Money: Even as McGavick fails to support drug re-importation from Canada , he accepted $2000 from Pfizer’s PAC, and another $10,000 from the PAC of Express-Scripts, one of the largest prescription benefit managers (PBM) in the country. [FreedomWorks press release, 12/15/04 (via PR Newswire)]

· Ted Stevens: McGavick took a $2000 personal check from his good friend Ted Stevens – who appears to be making good on his pledge to seek revenge against Maria Cantwell for standing up and successfully blocking oil drilling in Alaska. FEC records show that Senator Stevens doesn’t donate much personally to other candidates, and has never written a check of this size to someone challenging a colleague. [FEC.gov]
Seems pretty clear whose side McGavick is on.

It sure isn't mine.

From the "me too" file…

Will Bunch and Steve M. and, well, me too.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

If this isn't persuasive…



…read this.

Heck, read it anyway.

"…not qualified to lead," indeed.

Well, yeah, Carl…

…in fact, I think it's a dandy idea.

The question in my mind isn't why Bob Ferguson is crossing party lines to support an elected County Auditor, it's is why he would find it necessary to do so. I know that many local Democrats are afflicted with an unhealthy devotion to the kind of goo-goo politics exemplified by the LWV and the Muni League, but the County Auditor has enough policy and operations influence to make the position elected, and ideally partisan. It matters who runs our elections, and the voters should have an opportunity to examine the applicants and make their decision.

Goldy's notion that the size of King County separates us from the other 38 Washington counties that already elect their county auditors and he's right. It's just that I see the size of the county and the scope of the office as an argument for an elected office. If anything, we should have been first.

And it's hard to imagine a less democratic, let alone Democratic, notion than this...
...an elected Auditor would virtually assure that one of the largest elections jurisdictions in the nation will now be run by a political hack rather than a qualified professional…
Holding the electorate in contempt isn't a core Democratic principle, folks.

It's not that the County Auditor's office is too important to be entrusted to the voters, it's that it's too important not to be.

Update: Carl checks in to report that the position will be non-partisan. I hate that. It's another woeful result of the goo-goo influence in county government, I suppose, and a neccessary sop to those folks if they're going to add the position to the ballot.

Just the same, we don't have to settle for non-partisan candidates even for non--partisan offices. Candidates for non-partisan races now, most city councils, for instance, regularly yield to the demand for partisan declaration in exchange for partisan endorsements and support. Refusal to disclose can be equally revealing.

I suppose it's true that there will be efforts to "...slip a Katherine Harris past the voters." Heck, I'm sure it's true. The need for vigilance is endless. The current system offers no better protection, though, just less transparency. Does anyone out there think that Dave Reichert was anything but a conservative Republican when Ron Sims appointed him Sherrif?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Republican…

…and a liar.

But I repeat myself.



(Apologies to Mr. Clemens)

Monday, July 24, 2006

You know they're in trouble…

…when Republican politicians start invoking Democratic icons. Mike McGavick tells Josh Feit...
I do not comment on state initiatives because I’m focused on the federal issues. There’s plenty of issues to ask me about all day long. And by the way, the precedent for that was set by Scoop and Maggie.
Sorry, Mike, you're not Henry Jackson. You're not Warren Magnuson. You're not even close. You may have a point…
...I think it’s appropriate. As a senate leader working on federal issues to not wander into every state issue going on at the legislature…
But Mike, you're not a Senate leader. You're unemployed. You're not working on anything but your resume as you apply for a government job.

And if you really believe that the civil rights of Washington citizens aren't a relevant issue for a United States Senator, you're clearly not qualified.

It's Mike or Maria, folks. Which side are you on?

Another way…

…the rich get richer. From the NYT, via Diane...
The federal government is moving to eliminate the jobs of nearly half of the lawyers at the Internal Revenue Service who audit tax returns of some of the wealthiest Americans, specifically those who are subject to gift and estate taxes when they transfer parts of their fortunes to their children and others...
That's not to say there's a job shortage for DC attorneys. This note from Political Wire seems to suggest those resumes are needed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue…
Time notes the White House will spend the remainder of the summer prepping for the midterm elections. "Their outlook thus far seems so ominous for the G.O.P. that one presidential adviser wants Bush to beef up his counsel's office for the tangle of investigations that a Democrat-controlled House might pursue."

The GOP Culture of Death.

With Condi taking an immediate cease-fire off the table, Nancy Pelosi tried in vain to get the House Republicans to make the most modest gesture toward saving lives on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border...
WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this past Wednesday pulled her co-sponsorship of a bipartisan resolution on the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, because Republican House leaders refused to include language in the statement calling on all sides to minimize civilian casualties.
That's right. Boehner & Co. oppose minimizing civilian casualties.

'Culture of life' my Irish arse.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

And now...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Just the usual weirdness.

Random ten:
Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch - I'll Fly Away
Sly & The Family Stone - Hot Fun In The Summertime
Psychedelic Breakfast - Phaddy Boom Baddy
Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - I Saw The Light
T. Rex - Cosmic Dancer
The Mamas & The Papas - Monday, Monday
Manfred Mann - Blinded By The Light
Jimmy Buffett - Chanson Pour Les Petits Enfants
Jerry Dugger - Bad Little Baby
Suzy Bogguss - Comes Love

Friday, July 21, 2006

Oh yeah...

...I (heart) the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat, too.

I (heart) my hometown…



More at the Freeway Blogger.

Hat tip to Carl.

That's it, then…

…after spending billions of American dollars and sacrificing the lives of 2558 American troops, we're reduced to this…
MR. SNOW: No, because the primary point of emphasis in the relations between the United States and Iraq right now is guaranteeing the security of Baghdad, and also making sure that Iraqi democracy works, and works effectively.
Just how "effective" is a "democracy" that can't secure its own capitol without the presence of an occupying force?

For that matter, how "effective" is a "democracy" that isn't safe in its own capitol even with the presence of an occupying force?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I beg to differ.

Matt Stoller writes...
Clinton is a loveable character in Democratic politics, like Barack Obama. He's perceived as a winner, as a good President, and as a strong Democrat who set a good tone for the party and the country…
Maybe it's a generational thing. Folks who don't remember the Democrats before Bill Clinton are likely to think of him as a "strong Democrat" more than those with longer memories, I suppose. The sooner all of us shed ourselves of the notion, though, the better off I think we'll be.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Big Dog. Hell, everybody likes the Big Dog. He's a sure enough "loveable character." As much as we might bitch about the current Preznit's ability, fading though it may be, to sell his own brand of aw-shucks frat-boy persona, there's always a sense that it's forced, and there's a mean streak that's undeniable. None of that for our boy Bill. He genuinely likes folks and folks, recognizing that, like him in return. Me too.

That's why he was, to the degree that he was, a winner, I suppose. People who didn't agree with him all that much, or who didn't even know enough about his platform to form an opinion, just liked the guy. Of course, he never quite won enough approval from over half the electorate for a clear majority win, but, then again, he never needed it. So "winner"? OK.

"Good President"? That's a tougher one. Peace and prosperity? Sure, but the debate continues over how much he actually had to do with either. Once again, it was his persona as much, or more, than his policies that created the air of public confidence that was the real success of his Presidency. It was nice to feel good about America and the American future, and it was easier to do because we felt pretty good about the guy in the White House. Of course, it also depends on who you're comparing him too. If you can't remember anyone before, say, Reagan, well, then, he was a great President.

But "strong Democrat"? Nope. Not. Negative.

Bill Clinton set universal healthcare, a core Democratic issue for over half a century, back about that long, and presided over the loss of a Democratic House for the first time in, well, about that long again, He abandoned, worse, he denigrated, the New Society ideals that had been the foundation of Democratic social policy since LBJ and left Congressional Democrats, who had advanced those policies for almost thirty years, out on a thin limb. If people today wonder what the Democrats stand for, it's in no small part because so much of Clinton's success at "triangulation" was won by force of personality. Personality, in the end, though, is no substitute for policy, and he left no meaningful policy legacy for the Party to organize around.

Bill Clinton made a mess of the Party, and left a mess for the Party.

So, OK, he won. And he did the work, and did it OK. Maybe better than OK. And he's a great guy. Loveable, even.

Lousy Democrat, though.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gold…

…east of them thar' hills. Via Majority Rules

Democrat Peter Goldmark, running in eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District, has raised more money than his Republican opponent during the latest reporting period. Goldmark reported to the Federal Elections Commission that for the April, May, June 2006 reporting period he has raised over $200,066. His opponent, Cathy McMorris, has only raised $125,945 during this same time period.
It's a tough district, and a relatively late start might make it tougher, but Goldmark's clearly doing the work. He doesn't have to do it alone, though. You can lighten the load here.

Truth.

From Oliver...
The Democratic Party supports the progressive life-saving process of stem cell research. The Republican party would prefer for those afflicted with maladies that could be cured by stem cell research to suffer and die.

Good question…

…from Darryl at Hominid Views.
Does Shrub suffer from some sort of social Tourettes syndrome, or something?


(by the by, on a day I finally have some time for real blogging, this joint is seriously bloggered - getting this up took over an hour. Good stuff in the pipeline, though. Stay tuned)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Truth.

From Lindsay Beyerstein...
The revelation that John McCain is a GOP insider might be today's least newsworthy news item.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Krugman…

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

Hey!

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…

Norbizness...
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.

Jeebus.

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...



www.needlenose.com/hadenough

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.

…3…2…1…



Godspeed.

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...