Monday, December 31, 2007

We'll raise a cup o' kindness...

...or two or three. I'm off for the perfect tavern in a bit. Specials, hats, horns, the whole deal is planned, and of course, mentioning the blog will, as always, get you a cold one on me.

It's been a mixed year, as always. On a personal level, it's been another year with the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left, a year spent watching The Quarterback grow before our eyes. Doesn't get a lot better than that.

The blog's still trucking along - over 6,000 posts now, closing in on a quarter million served and still enough fun to show up for every day.

Our country still suffers, though. The wounds to our liberty, our security, our reputation and our physical and economic health will not be healed simply by the passage of time. The body politic is infected, and it will take our attention and our effort in the coming year to begin what will doubtless be a long, and sometimes painful, course of treatment.

I'll be raising one of those cups to all y'all later tonight. Till then,

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He's good enough, he's smart enough…

…and doggone it, people like him. Mostly.

John Edwards 49 FAV, 42 UNFAV
Hillary Clinton 48 FAV, 50 UNFAV
Barack Obama 43 FAV, 51 UNFAV

Hat tip to Big Tent Democrat.

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'Fun' with facts.

Average number of people watching the presidential primary debates: 2 million
Average number of people watching the first five weeks of American Idol's 2007 season: 33.5 million
Not funny.

More here.

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The NYT:
Out of panic and ideology, President Bush squandered America’s position of moral and political leadership, swept aside international institutions and treaties, sullied America’s global image, and trampled on the constitutional pillars that have supported our democracy through the most terrifying and challenging times. These policies have fed the world’s anger and alienation and have not made any of us safer.
Therefore, we have hired Bill Kristol.

Oh well, it's always been a love-hate thing with the Grey Lady.

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Get ready, get set…

go read this.

Enjoy the evening's revelry. You survived another year in Bush's America. You deserve a break.

Remember, though, if you're on Team Edwards and all goes well Thursday, it's all hands on deck Friday.

Up for a fight?

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Something to strive for in the New Year.

Via Postman
“I’m frustrated as hell with the rise of the blogosphere,” says Christian Sinderman, a local Democratic consultant. “Blogs, for me, are this weird nether region … it’s usually stuff that’s not quite good enough to ended up printed somewhere, but it’s not quite nothing enough to end up going into the ether.”
Our new motto?
Upper Left: "Not quite nothing enough to end up going into the ether."


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ah, those innocent days of yore…

When we got into office, the thing that surprised me the most was that things were as bad as we'd been saying they were.

John F. Kennedy
That wouldn't surpise us anymore.


In the spirit of bipartisanship…

Huckabee rips Romney as dishonest
…I'll take Huck's word for it.

Not because I trust him, you understand.

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Iowa could make or break Democrats

Or maybe not. Who knows?
The Debt Crisis, Where It’s Least Expected
No one expected the Spanish Inquisition, either.
Thompson: 'Not particularly interested in running for president'
America: 'Not particularly interested in Thompson.'

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And now...


Saturday, December 29, 2007

On impossibility.

You can't poll Iowa.

Polling is problematic everywhere, but it just can't be done for a caucus. The effect of human interaction in a precinct caucus where pleas are heard, offers are made and deals are cut face to face with real people from down the block defies prediction.

Everyone's heard about the 15% threshold required to earn a share of the delegates at a precinct, but most of the speculation has been around which of the big three candidates might benefit most from the supporters of candidates who don't make the cut. The range of speculation about that possibility alone is enough to cast doubt on the validity of pre-caucus polling.

It's even weirder than that, though. There's no reason the second tier candidate's supporters have to go to the big 3 at all. If they have the numbers, they can band together under the banner of any candidate, or of no candidate at all. And all those undecided voters in those polls? They can stay undecided. "Uncommitted" is an eligible delegate category, if you can assemble 15% of the attendees.

Not complicated enough to confound the pollsters, you say? Well, consider that if the candidates who have made threshold have an attendee or two to spare, they might shift them around for their own strategic advantage. For instance, suppose three candidates have made threshold, with one having a lead that allows them to select more delegates than the other. A savvy supporter of the second or third place candidate might watch the sign in sheet with an eye beyond the immediate outcome of their precinct and begin cutting the deal that brings a fourth candidate to threshold, which might deprive the top candidate of a delegate or two.

And there's that neighborhood thing. These are people you know, people who wave when you drive by, people who nod at the corner store, people you do business with, people whose kids play with your kids. People you’d usually like to help out, if you can. When that guy in the bright gold IAFF for Dodd shirt standing next to the sign in table says he just needs one or two more folks to get out of the room as a delegate, and that's real important to him and to his union, what do you suppose the odds are that one or two of that firefighter's neighbors, through friendship, respect for his role in the community or labor solidarity, will step up and help him out?

Then again, maybe not.

Nope, you can't poll Iowa.

Which is why it's so much fun.

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...randomer, and maybe, just maybe, the randomest so far...
Mews Small - I'll See You In My Dreams
Sinead O'Connor - Big Bunch Of Junkie Lies
Emily Lord - One Day At A Time
Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim - Meditation
Dave Frishberg - Cole Porter Stomp
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - I Won't Back Down
Mark Brine - 8th Grade Romance (,,,and They Danced)
Modern Jazz Quartet - Bag's Groove
They Might Be Giants - James K. Polk
Nina Simone - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

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Friday, December 28, 2007


New-Home Sales Hit 12-Year Low in November
Safer and sounder all the time.
Bush tops 'most admired' poll
Whoa! Down is up!
AOL pulls plug on Netscape Web browser
In other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.
Bush to veto defense bill after Iraq objects
Iraq objects? I thought we bought Iraq.

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I know some of y'all think…

…I'm a little too rough on Barack once in awhile. Maybe.

But for those who think I'm a big softie, well, eriposte is putting the boots to the Politics of Hope, Change and Optimism™ over at The Left Coaster.

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Since you asked.

From a new Romney ad in New Hampshire (via AMERICAblog)...
"John McCain, an honorable man. But is he the right Republican for the future?"
Since you asked, no.

But it's a trick question.

There is no "right Republican for the future."

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's terrible, sure…

…but that doesn't make it terrorism.

Benazir Bhutto seemed to be a confounding blend of courage, controversy and corruption, but I think it's more accurate to describe her death as a plain, if plainly tragic, political assassination rather than an act of terrorism. If every act of political violence is labeled terror, then soon the horror behind the label will become diluted, if not invisible.

Trying to fit this into some kind of GWOT framework is dishonest and an insult to the memory of Ms. Bhutto and the very real risks she willingly faced for her country.

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Care for some innuendo with your news?

David D. Kirkpatrick has ginned up some controversy by passing on a small smear from an anonymous campaign (my emphasis)...
But the Edwards campaign may have expected the support of the group, Alliance for a New America, set up by a local of the Service Employees International Union. An Oct. 8 e-mail message circulated among the union leaders who created the group suggests that they were talking with Edwards campaign officials about “what specific kinds of support they would like to see from us” just as they were planning to create an outside group to advertise in early primary states with “a serious 527 legal structure.”

The message, sent by the president of one of the locals involved, was obtained by a rival campaign.
"…may have expected…"

Don'cha just love that? May have. Maybe not.

Not even "…probably expected." Nope, that would take, well, some kind of evidence or something.

Of course, there is evidence. The memo itself. But that's a problem for the smear mongers.

See, the description of the memo makes it pretty clear that the SEIU was looking at the legitimate ways that it could coordinate it's support directly with the campaign before pulling the trigger by forming a 527 and cutting off that direct contact. All normal, legal interactions between unions and campaigns.

Because the most effective way for unions to reach out beyond their membership is sometimes the use of 527s, I disagree with the Edwards' campaign's disavowal their independent expenditures. There are abusive uses of the independent organizations, no doubt, but the solution to bad speech, they say, is often more speech. If the price of unhindered political speech and activity on behalf of political candidates and issues is the potential for abuse, it's a small price, best paid in the coin of diligent oversight and enforcement of the applicable regulations.

There's just no there there. It's a shameful performance for the Times, but they could make amends by coming clean on the source.

"…a rival campaign."?


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A dip into the memory hole…

…by Paul Krugman.
I like to remind people who long for bipartisanship that FDR's drive to create Social Security was as divisive as Bush's attempt to dismantle it. And we got Social Security because FDR wasn't afraid of division. In his great Madison Square Garden speech, he declared of the forces of "organized money": "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred."
Sounds familiar.

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Via Kicking Ass…

an ass kicked.

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My man John
"Compromise and conciliation is the academic theory of change. It just doesn’t work in the real world. Fighting for conviction is the historic reality of change.”
And how 'bout this?
Edwards was the only candidate to speak with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today.

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When she's right...

she's right. Hillary...
"I don't know what is going to happen on January 3rd, and I don't think anybody does."

I've got a hunch, though...

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Major Retailers Feel the Squeeze From Consumers
"Safe and sound." Uh huh.
Giuliani reiterates he's cancer-free
Would someone tell him it's not the cancer that puts us off?

It's the cooties.
Iraqi hairdressers forced underground
Not from The Onion.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

From the "Stuff I just don't get" file...

Via the NYT...
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday that employers could reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare.

The policy, set forth in a new regulation, allows employers to establish two classes of retirees, with more comprehensive benefits for those under 65 and more limited benefits — or none at all — for those older.
I mean, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission deliberately created two classes of employees? Two classes unequal in their provision of benefits?

I just don't get it.

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This week...
October home prices post record decline

Holiday Spending Growth at 5 -Year Low
Last week...
Bush says US economy is safe and sound

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Stuart Rothenberg
Person Most Likely to be Elected President of the United States in 2008

• Barry Bonds
• Britney Spears
• Ron Paul
• Nicolas Sarkozy
• Nathan Gonzales
Winner: They all have the same chance.

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And before it's too late...

...a holiday random ten.
Judy Garland - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Dean Martin - The Christmas Blues
Charles Brown - Please Come Home For Christmas
Bing Crosby - I'll Be Home For Christmas
B.B. King - Please Come Home For Christmas
Gene Autry - Frosty The Snowman
Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run
Burl Ives - Have A Holly Jolly Christmas
Buck Owens - Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy
Les Brown & His Band Of Reknown - The Nutcracker Suite

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I'm atop a ridge…

…in the heart of the Puget Sound convergence zone, so the weather here at Upper Left world headquarters isn't always typical of the region, but right now we're piling up some white Xmas in the yard, and a bit on the street to boot. Happily, we're not moving from this spot until the a.m., but travel for the company we're expecting may get a bit dicey. Not too, though, I hope.

While I wait for the arrival of friends and relations, I've got the plunder so far to keep me busy. A couple DVDs - Spiderman 3 and A Prairie Home Companion - and a bunch of books - Colbert's "I Am America (And So Can You)", the Onion atlas, "Our Dumb World" and a massive history of the U.S. Army - and a new sweater to keep me warm while I watch, read and munch on the feast of goodies laid out by the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left.

Doesn't get much better. Hope your day is going nearly as well.

Update: The snow put a beautiful blanket on the evergreens and a perfect frosting on the bare branches of everything else for the arrival of our dinner company, and then had the good form to revert to rain and clear the streets for safe travel before their departure. How good can it get?

Well, even better from the plunder standpoint. Another book - Glenn Greenwald's "How Would A Patriot Act?" and a new oversized Starbucks mug. I actually prefer Tully's' beans (got some of that, too) but Starbucks always has the best mugs, and the Elder Daughter of Upper Left and her Perpetually Pleasing Partner never disappoint with their annual selection.

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I second the nomination…

…for Quote of the Day.
"From my perspective, this is not an academic or a philosophical question. This is about who has the toughness and fight to take on corporate greed and win."

John Edwards

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Good question…

…from Chris Bowers.
...the British withdrawal from Basra reduced violence in the city by 90%. Is it too much for any prominent Democrat to point this out?


So this is Christmas...

And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

War is over over
If you want it
War is over


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Worth repeating.

MaryinBelltown, at the Edwards campaign blog...
Here is another point that the political writers confuse for us. They call any disagreement an attack or slam. Debate is good. Attacks are personal insults. Debate is about policy, plans, issues, positions. Debate uses logic, seeks to illuminate. Attacks seek to confuse and misrepresent.
Of course, it's not just political writers that create the problem. As Mary points out, it's become standard for the Clinton camp to characterize every disagreement as 'mud.' Until the pundits and pols alike drop this line, there's no way to get the honest debate we need to pick the best nominee.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

The reason for the season?

This is mine...

The Quarterback loves him some Elmo.

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Things that make me go hmmm…

Via Talk Left...
In 1996, when he was running for a seat in the Illinois Senate, Obama's campaign filled out a questionnaire flatly stating that he did not support capital punishment. By 2004, his position was that he supported the death penalty "in theory" but felt the system was so flawed that a national moratorium on executions was required.

Today, he doesn't talk about a moratorium and says the death penalty is appropriate for "some crimes — mass murder, the rape and murder of a child — so heinous that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage."
I don't really have a problem with politicians, or anyone, really, who change positions. People do learn, and do change. Politicians who change from the right position to the wrong one, though? Something else again.

Something that makes me go hmmm.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Quote of the day.

"We now have confirmation of two facts we have known for some time: one, the Federal Reserve System is not a strong advocate for consumers, and two, there is no Santa Claus. People who are surprised by the one are presumably surprised by the other."

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), House Financial Services Committee chairman

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And again…

yep. Devilstower this time...
Every step that any government takes in providing either recognition or authority to any religion, is a step away from democracy. That's unavoidable, no matter the religion involved. The moment you have a government that acknowledges any religion as the true religion, you have a government in which some animals are far more equal than others.
Lotta truth out there today.

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You act is if there were no other alternative to progressive and liberal interests than the Democratic Party. That’s right, I sure do. I have looked high and low, near and far, with microscopes and telescopes, I talked to Jesus and the Gypsies, I read history and political science, and there is no other way.


And now...


Saturday, December 22, 2007


…but it needs to be better. The Rothenberg rating
· Gregoire (D-WA)
It may be that this one will take more of our time and effort than any race in '08. I admit that it's hard to gin up a lot of personal enthusiasm for the Governor, but it gets a little easier every time I consider the alternative.

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Ten for today...

Jerry Jeff Walker - L.A. Freeway
The Damnwells - Texas
Donna The Buffalo - Finally Friday
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys - Blues For Dixie
Miles Davis & Sonny Rollins - It's Only A Paper Moon
Peter, Paul & Mary - Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
Keely Smith - How High The Moon
Nina Gordon - Straight Out Of Compton
Tito Puente - Un Poco Loco
The Byrds - You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

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Friday, December 21, 2007


Romney Shows a Tendency to Imprecision
Obama: Bill Clinton advisers prefer me
And that's a good thing?
Asteroid could hit Mars in January
…and thanks for all the fish.

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Health care, please…

…not health insurance.

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Well, yeah…

"...perhaps we are being too literal in believing that "hope" and bipartisanship are things that Obama naively believes are present and possible, when in fact they are a tactic, a method of subverting and breaking the unified conservative power structure."
And perhaps he naively believes those things are present and possible.

It's an important point, and should Obama become our nominee, I'm hoping Mark Schmitt's best case is itself present. It's possible.

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"...definitely hypocritical, absolutely."

That's former Iowa AFSCME secretary-treasurer Carter Woodruff on his own union's new hit piece on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

It's a doozy, attacking Obama for opposing health insurance mandates - which happens to be position of the union itself - and invoking John Edwards' name in a pull quote without ever mentioning Hillary herself. It's a "let's you and him fight" piece which has managed to confuse and infuriate campaigns, voters and AFSCME members all at once.

AFSCME's supposed to be a politically smart union, but this looks like a dumb move. It puts the union on the attack against its own principles on behalf of a endorsed candidate it actually disagrees with. Since people tend to misunderstand the restrictions that affect independent expenditures, it carries a downside for the Clinton campaign proper, too. The campaign will be seen by many to have been somehow involved in a clumsy smear against both of her principal opponents. It was enough to put a panel of AFSCME members on a conference call supporting Obama and it's hardly the kind of thing you expect from a candidate who has depended so much on a veneer of inevitability.

In fact, it's the kind of thing that might put Hillary on a fast track to fourth place in Iowa. That might change everything.

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Personal note.

The combination of a family crisis for one of my co-workers and a holiday vacation for a couple more has left me with a completely unpredictable schedule for the next few days. Yesterday it meant about 13 hours at the perfect tavern and today it could mean a couple more than that.

Or not.

Like I said, it's unpredictable. Until things settle down, so's my blogging schedule (not that I actually 'schedule' this stuff). I'll be around, though, so keep checking in and I'll keep trying to make it worth your while.

And if you're anywhere near Richmond Beach in Shoreline, drop by the bar. I'll likely be there, and if you mention this post, first one's on me.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Since you asked...

AP headline:
A soldier's suicide: Did he have to die?
Since you asked, no.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007


"Don't Tase Me, Bro" tops '07 memorable quote list
Who says we're not in the midst of a golden age of oratory.
US foreclosure filings up 68 pct in Nov.
Guess those houses will be "safe and sound" in the hands of the banks.
Congressmen: Iraq lawless like the Wild West
Time for some frontier justice?

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Dr. Alterman
Petraeus is Iraq's Creighton Abrams.

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An hour of ads.

Walter Shapiro watches TV in Des Moines so we don't have to...
Over the last hour (roughly from 8:20-9:30 a.m. local time), I have seen two upbeat Barack Obama ads; two versions of the Mike Huckabee Christmas spot (in which your eye keeps getting drawn to the window frame in the background that is filmed to look exactly like a large cross); two Joe Biden commercials promoting his plan for a tripartite division of Iraq; two John Edwards promos about rising above "petty politics" (there is a window in this one as well, but no subliminal Christ imagery); an independent-expenditure ad on behalf of Edwards (a back-door way to avoid campaign-spending limits); a forgettable 30 seconds of Chris Dodd talking to the camera; a Ron Paul bio spot; another Edwards commercial (the best one of his) about a middle-aged man in the South who endured life with a cleft palate because he lacked health insurance; and a Hillary Clinton promo revealing that she has the full and enthusiastic support of her mother, Dorothy Rodham.
The first thing that pops out to me is the independent expenditure for Edwards (by whom, I wonder). I'm a bit surprised to see that it's the only one of the hour. Edwards outgunning Obama and Clinton even without the independent spot is pretty impressive, too, considering the budgetary differences between the campaigns (Heck, even Biden's got a pair). Of course, while 'how much' is an important factor in the way paid media is used, how and when can be great equalizers, and Edwards seems to be getting some good bang for his buck in the closing weeks.

And the "petty politics" spots? Haven't seen 'em, but it sounds like 'Nice John' may be back for the close.

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Shorter Hamid Karzai…

I hope my enemies go to heaven. Soon.

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Hey, nobody's perfect…

…but Harry must be doing something right. Via Taegan Goddard
Meanwhile, the New York Times notes the "uncommonly antagonistic relationship" between Reid and President Bush.
But Majority Leader Dodd? Pretty damn tempting.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

OK, it's just a poll…

…and I don't put much stock in polls in general, and polls that try to predict caucus behavior in particular, but damn, it's a pretty picture…

Hat tip to MyDD.

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From the "War is good business" file.

Via Dave Johnson at Seeing The Forest
…today's defense spending is 14% above the height of the Korean War, 33% above the height of the Vietnam War, 25% above the height of the "Reagan Era" buildup and is 76% above the Cold War average.
That's one expensive boogeyman they've built up, huh?

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Since you asked...

Steve Benen:
It is me or is there just a basic difference of class between the Democratic candidates and the Republicans?
Since you asked, yes, there is a difference, with Democrats consistently outscoring their opponents on basic measurements of classiness such as courtesy, civility and honesty.

It might not always work to our short term electoral advantage. Liars, cheats and thieves often prosper for awhile. Sometimes, though, you have to do the right thing even when the wrong thing is easier, or more profitable,or produces a faster result. It's called principle, and it's Democratic principles that make me proudly partisan.

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Shorter Bill Richardson…

"I'm toast."

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A victory for veterans.

News from the Speaker's blog. The House has passed H.R. 3793, which affirms that a discharge due to combat injuries is payment in full of a G.I.'s enlistment obligation.

According to Department of Defense rules, enlistees cannot receive their full enlistment bonus unless they fulfill their entire military obligation. Unfortunately, members of the armed services who are wounded while on active duty are not receiving their full bonuses because their service was prematurely cut short. The Veterans Guaranteed Bonus Act, H.R. 3793, will correct this problem by requiring the Department of Defense to provide veterans who have been discharged due to combat-related wounds with full payment of remaining bonuses within 30 days of discharge.

Thanks and congrats to the House, to the prime sponsor, Rep. Jason Altmire,D-PA, and to my own personal Congressman, who is listed as a co-sponsor of the legislation.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Have you ever been experienced?

"I always think of (Vice President Dick) Cheney and (former Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld when I think of experience."

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

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And again, I wonder…

…why not Washington?

Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law Monday a measure that abolishes the death penalty, making New Jersey the first state in more than four decades to reject capital punishment.

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Report: Saudi king pardons rape victim
We helped. That's a good thing.
Turkey Bombs Kurdish Militant Targets in Iraq
We helped here, too. Maybe not so good.
Free Trade Zones Ease Passage of Counterfeit Drugs
Nice to know they're good for something, I suppose.
Bush says US economy is safe and sound
Be afraid.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bonus Heh™.

Hat tip to Shakespeare's Sister.

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Me too.

"I think John is a winner. He's electable. He's been tested. He's been on the national ticket before. The national polls show him beating all Republicans in the general elections. He inspires me. I think he inspires other Iowans, and I think he can really rally Americans in the fall."

Iowa First Lady Mari Culver, endorsing my man John.

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Shorter candidates, by Atrios...
Obama: The system sucks, but I'm so awesome that it'll melt away before me.

Edwards: The system sucks, and we're gonna have to fight like hell to destroy it.

Clinton: The system sucks, and I know how to work within it more than anyone.
I'm not sure "destroy" is the goal, but I'm definitely in the "we're gonna have to fight like hell" camp.

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Sorry Hillary…

…looks like all that sucking up didn't help you win the Lieberman primary.

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Well, yeah…

As the media keeps telling us ad nauseam: now that the Republicans are temporarily weakened by their own corruption and malfeasance, it's a known fact that the entire country wants to stop the partisan bickering and let bygones be bygones.
…and I hate that, but my real problem is that Barack's made the same line a cornerstone of his platform. We must demand more of our nominee, both for national progress and for his or her own protection.

There's a lot of talk about the minefield the Republicans have laid for the new Democratic President we'll be electing next fall. The route to successfully navigating those hazards will be along a direct and proudly partisan path. Every compromise, every misbegotten attempt to dilute our ideals in search of some
mythical middle ground that turns out to be everything the Repulicans wanted in the first place, will be spun as failure by the GOP noise machine, and the sad thing is that they won't be wrong, though they'll be right for all the wrong reasons.

If failure on a particular program or policy is the outcome, as sometimes it doubtless will be, let it be a failure in pursuit of our platform, not theirs.

The time for proud partisanship hasn't passed. It hasn't even peaked.

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And now...



My man John, via Talk Left
"I think if my party, the Democratic Party, if we're not willing to fight for, stand up and show some backbone on behalf of the poor, the homeless, the disabled, the disenfranchised, we have no soul."
To be the 'party of the people' we have to be the party of each and every one of 'em.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007


Other states where executions are banned include Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Why not Washington?

Hat tip to NPI.

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From the "Un-American Activities" file.

Some plain truth from Kagro X...
Basically, the situation is such that Bush feels perfectly comfortable vetoing everything of substance the Congress even proposes passing. Forget the "60 vote requirement" in the Senate. With Bush, if he wants his way, it takes 67 votes to do anything different. And 290 in the House.

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Put another nickel in...

Another random ten...
DJ Johnson - Imaginary Girl
Dan Montgomery - When I Was A Drunk
Joan Osborne - Who Divided
Steve Turre - Steve's Blues
Elton John - Daniel
John Hiatt - I'm Satisfied
The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon
Booker T. & The MGs - Time Is Tight
Rufus Thomas - Little Sally Walker
Wilson Pickett - 634-5789

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Friday, December 14, 2007


Bush Says He Hopes ‘Steroid Era’ Ends Soon
...I feel that way about the 'Bush Era.'

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I agree that…

"This whole drug thing is annoying and stupid," but despite the hypocrisy Jerome finds in Obama's response to the Shaheen slur, I can't agree with his wish that "...the Obama campaign would have just ignored it."

The last time a Democrat tried to sweep away some "annoying and stupid" charges, charges that had been vetted and dismissed time and again, charges disproved by official records and eyewitnesses, well, the Swiftboat Liars did enough damage to take credit - surely deserved in some measure - for bringing low the reputation of a genuine American hero enough to turn an election.

Nope, no matter how "annoying and stupid," a response is due to every charge these days.

Hopefully not an annoyingly stupid one.

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Good question…

…from my man John, in a new ad for Iowa...
When are we going to stop letting drug companies, insurance companies and their lobbyists run this country?

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Attorney general won't share destroyed tape info
Here we go again. John Kerry used to get a good response to his promise that he'd appoint an Attorney General whose name wasn't John Ashcroft. Turns out the problem isn't the name, it's the namer. Speaking of whom...
Roaming, thieving monkeys sought in roundup
No relation, I'm sure.

Congress authorizes war funds and sends bill to Bush
A drag, sure, but let's face it - he was going to keep his damn war going if it meant emptying the Pentagon and having a yard sale for the office furniture. The people who would get hurt in the short run aren't in Congress. In the long run the Bush program to dismantle the military establishment in favor of an all-mercenary force would be abetted. I don't like it, but I get it.
House votes to outlaw CIA waterboarding
Thus making it illegal to act unlawfully. It's really come to this, hasn't it?
Men carry breast cancer genes, too
As usual, it's all about us. Can the baby-blue ribbons be far behind?

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First there is a Trotsky…

More historical revisionism…
"He was never a part of this campaign. It was unacceptable."

Clinton advisor Mark Penn on former Clinton National Co-Chair Bill Shaheen.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Well, yeah…

Paul Jenkins has a point, I suppose...
It is hard to be a champion of outsiders and a slayer of the powerful when you are a powerful, wealthy, white man…
…but it's easier when you got your power and wealth as a reward for championing outsiders and slaying the powerful.

He tries out the "angry Edwards" line, too.

That dog don't hunt, neither.


And the winner is…

my man John. Just ask ABC's Rick Klein
"...he was relentlessly on message, sounding strong, and making a very good case to keep this a three-person race."
…or any of the many in Jessica's overview of responses to the last Iowa debate.

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Why not Washington?

N.J. lawmakers vote to abolish death penalty

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So, what's that mean, exactly?

A top campaign adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton resigned Thursday, a day after suggesting Democrats should be wary of nominating Barack Obama because his teenage drug use could make it hard for him to win the presidency.
Bill Shaheen, a national co-chairman for Clinton and a prominent New Hampshire political figure, had raised the issue of Obama's youthful drug use during a Wednesday interview, published on
So, Hillary's not taking calls from Bill Shaheen anymore? Or he's not taking hers? Or what?

All the money he's steered in her direction as a national co-chair, that's all going back, or what?

All his friends in New Hampshire, they're all going to stay home come primary day, or what?

Bill Shaheen's coming off the stationery. That's it.

Big hit for a small price.

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Top Ten Reasons to Caucus for John Edwards.

From a letter to the Newton (IA) Daily News, via the Edwards campaign blog.

10. John doesn't owe any favors to Karl Rove, Dick Cheney or Bill O'Reilly.
9. We will all sing, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" when he brings the troops back.
8. John lives the American Dream and hasn't pulled the ladder up behind himself.
7. No more "great moments in Presidential speeches" on Late Night with David Letterman.
6. John uses five syllable words without inserting his foot in his mouth.
5. During John Edward's inauguration, Ann Coulter might choke on her own Adam's apple.
4. John's campaign office is the closest walk to the Newton Maidrite.
3. The "axis of evil" and "weapons of mass destruction" phrases will only be found in history books.
2. Americans won't be forced to go to Canada, France, or England to have quality, free health care.
1. John Edwards motto is "just say NO to lobbyists."
My offering for a more global substitute for #4 is inspired by Atrios.
4. It'll piss off the Village.


Crazy, crazy for being so…

…well, crazy. Yep, I'm talking about Ron Paul again. MissLaura culls some highlights from Dave Neiwert's more expansive study of Crazy Ron's record...

· Ron Paul wants the US to withdraw from the UN or at least from UNESCO.

· Ron Paul has authored legislation saying that life begins at conception, to prevent federal money from being spent on family planning (that would include contraception), and has tried to amend the Constitution to "guarantee the right to life."

· Ron Paul has tried to repeal the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to abolish the minimum wage, and to eviscerate Social Security.

· Ron Paul wants guns in schools.

· Ron Paul has tried to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act to guarantee employees of federal contractors the prevailing wage and wants to make it easier to decertify a union.

· Ron Paul wants to amend the Constitution to end birthright citizenship.

· Ron Paul wants to dismantle the Federal Reserve and prepare for a return to the Gold Standard, which would destroy the economy.

He's just another proponent of anti-American extremism.

You know, a Republican.


Must be the Xmas spirit...

Muslim helps Jews attacked on New York subway

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Mark Green
Here's the big difference in the presidential primary contests: with less than a month to go, Republicans favor None-of-the-above while most Democrats could vote for All-of-the-above.

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CIA destroyed tapes despite court order
And? This case should probably topple the Bush administration. It probably won't.
Bush vetoes children's health bill a second time
"…without negotiating once."
Ominous Arctic melt worries experts
.…and if the experts are worried, brother, I'm worried. Sometimes this reality-based business is scary.
VA must act to curb combat-vet suicides, panel hears
We could start by making fewer combat vets.

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Kagro X
Tom Tancredo says he's suffered from mental illness. I find this sad, but also fairly easy to believe.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm inclined, I'm afraid…

…to agree. Jerome Armstrong...
For Democrats that think about how a campaign might position itself best to win, the question really comes down to this: Do you believe that this nation is going to transcend partisan politics in 2008?

If you believe that's true, and are willing to bet that personality-based politics can rise above partisan-politics, then you are probably betting on Obama's campaign strategy. If you think like me, that a campaign having it's partisan-base in order is the number one priority, than you are in alliance with the campaign strategies of Edwards and Clinton. It's really a question of weather the Democrats are going into battle in 2008 as Obama's personality movement or as a progressive partisan movement.
For me, it's less a matter of the Presidential race itself. Obama's certainly on my list of electables. I'm concerned, though, whether his personal radiance will cast enough light down the ticket.

More than concerned, I guess. Doubtful.

I'm not sure if Senator Clinton offers much more illumination, though.

Happily, we have an alternative.

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I'm not much interested…

…in 'electablility' arguments this year. I think we've got as many as a half dozen electable Democrats in the field.

Just the same, this is nice to look at. Via Matt Yglesias...

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"Nothing has been accomplished all year."

…sez Republican leader Rep. John Boehner. This is what nothing looks like:
Implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.

Benchmarks for progress in Iraq.

Raising the minimum wage.

10,000 new math and science teachers for America's public schools.

The largest increase in college aid since 1944.

Ethics reform.
And, of course, dozens of bills passed by the House and stymied by Senate Republicans - despite majority support in the Senate - or Bush's newly discovered veto pen.

It's not everything, for sure. It's not nothing, either, though.

Still, we could do more and better.

We could, with more and better Democrats.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.
White House spokesmodel Dana Perino admitted that she has no idea what the Cuban missile crisis was, and she thought this ignorance on her part was cute and funny.
Those who forget history...

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"OK, I lied."


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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hold on just a minute.

We don't know what those members of Congress were told in September of '02. We don't know how they reacted. They can't tell us, so we're left with the report of "two officials present."

That would be two executive branch officials. Executive branch officials entrusted with briefing Congress, including Democratic members of Congress, on highly sensitive, and potentially politically charged, operations.

Ya' think mayby those officials would have been pretty thoroughly politically vetted before that assignment? Ya' think maybe they'd have an axe to grind, or a case to make now? A motive, perhaps, beyond the public's right to know?

It just might be worth thinking about before we all jump off the deep end.

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One platoon's tale…

The absurd...
He’d lived through daily explosions in 11 months with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, at nearby Combat Outpost Apache, a no-frills fortress smack in the middle of Adhamiya’s hostile streets. He had rushed through flames to try to save friends and carried others to the aide station only to watch them die.

“I’m not getting killed at Burger King,” he thought, and he dived for a concrete bunker.
…and the scary.
“You never really get over the anger,” said Staff Sgt. Robin Johnson, a member of Charlie’s scout platoon who had been especially close to Agami. “It just kind of becomes everything you are. You become pissed off at everything. We wanted to destroy everything in our paths, but they wanted us to keep building sewer systems and handing out teddy bears.”
I hate what they're doing to my Army.

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The American Intelligence Establishment...

On ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos told his audience,“You should know that I invited the CIA director, the director of national intelligence, and President Bush’s national securityadviser to join us today. They all declined.”
Hat tip to Think Progress.

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I thought so, too.

Oliver has a note for Andy Young...
President Clinton was a great leader who acknowledged black America in a way no previous president had, but he is not black and Barack Obama is.
Yep, that's what I thought…well, a good leader, anyway.

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And now...


From the "What liberal media?" file.

There seems to be encouraging news for Democrats in Fay Fiore's L.A. Times piece on polling showing that military personnel and their families are, largely through disenchantment with the Iraq war, are leaving the Republican fold for the welcoming arms of the pro-troop, pro-veteran party, the Democratic Party. She couldn't wrap it up, though, without slipping in a poisin pill. She writes...
Now the disapproval of Bush appears to have transferred to his party. Republican leanings of military families that began with the Vietnam War -- when Democratic protests seemed to be aimed at the troops as much as the fighting -- have shifted, the poll results show.
I don't know where Ms. Fiore was during the Vietnam war and the accompanying protests, but I was in the war and the protests, as were many returning troops. I totally missed the "Democratic protests," though. The Democratic Party didn't adopt a definitive (and, even then, hardly unanimous) anti-war posture until the nomination of George McGovern in 1972. By that time, the largest and most memorable protests were already memories, and the Democratic Party didn't organize a single one of them. Most of the organizers, in fact, were likely to have viewed the Democratic Party with a measure of disdain.

Beyond that, there's the notion that protests - Democratic or otherwise - were "aimed at the troops as much as the fighting." One of the most common features of the anti-war protests I witnessed, whether from within the ranks or in the media, was a component of Vietnam veterans, usually in jungle fatigues, sometimes in wheelchairs, leading the parade. Along the route there often units of veterans of other wars, as well.

Of course, it's part of the continuing effort to associate Democrats with the New Left politics of the sixties, when any association is at best tenuous and likely of relatively recent vintage, as the radicals of the sixties (I yearn for the return of 'progressives' with the confidence to admit their radicalism. Their liberalism, for that matter.) have tempered their views over time and have allied with, if not exactly joined, the Democratic Party.

The next step in the myth-making process is to paint the anti-war movement of the time as an anti-troop movement. It's a notion that's been absorbed even by many of today's anti-Iraq war activists, who take pains not to repeat "the mistake" that, in fact, the anti-Vietnam activists really didn't make. Sure, there are the apocryphal tales of airport expectorations, but there's a much larger, and largely untold, story of the pro-troop, pro-vet activities of the sixties left. There were the legendary F.T.A. tours, mimicking the U.S.O. tradition with the anti-war artists that the troops actually wanted to hear, and the G.I. coffeehouse movement, which established a chain of off-post safe harbors for anti-war, anti-brass or simply anti-boredom troopers. The typical posture of the left reflected the class consciousness that stirred the radical conscience and saw us as victims of an economy already in the thrall of the military-industrial complex. It was in that spirit that they supported our grievances against our former military employers when we demanded attention for the ravages of Agent Orange. It was the left that exposed the outrageous conditions in some military hospitals then, and the left that joined in the demand for improvements. History, in this instance, is repeating itself before our eyes.

It's not that we felt all that welcome when we came home. It was commonplace, for instance, for Vietnam vets to leave their military history off their resume and job applications. That wasn't because the hiring decisions were being made by a bunch of dirty hippies. The Chamber of Commerce wanted no more to do with us than did the V.F.W. We lost a war, after all, and, in the view of the H.R. manager, probably lost it in a drug-addled haze. Besides, there was something about so many of us, at least for a while, that just didn't seem right. Kind of jumpy, maybe, or always pissed off.

The clarion call of the day is "support the soldiers, not the war," but it's hardly a new idea, and it was the overwhelming attitude of the anti-Vietnam war movement, Ms. Fiore's historical revisionism notwithstanding. I only wish that the Democratic Party had demonstrated the insight and courage to have led that movement.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Don't imagine.

Remember. And organize.

If you want it enough, you'll work for it.

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I think she's bragging…

…but it's at the heart of one of my complaints. Hillary, on her Chicago upbringing…
"It was 'Father Knows Best' and 'Ozzie and Harriet' and 'Leave it to Beaver' all rolled into one."
If that's true, or even if she just believes it's true, I can't imagine how she could possibly relate to those of us who grew up in the real world. No wonder she was a Goldwater Girl.

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Ya know…

…when Ron Paul's people think you're nuts...
"Dr. Paul and Rep. Kucinich are friends and there is a lot of mutual respect," said Paul communications director Jesse Benton. "They have worked, and will continue to work, together on ending the war and protecting civil liberties. However, Ron wants to substantially cut the size and scope of the federal government. There are too many differences on issues such as taxes and spending to think a joint ticket would be possible."
…well, you're probably nuts.

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I'd feel better…

…if Senator Obama was just a little pickier about the company he keeps.
In the case of Oprah, she belongs to three different craft unions herself (as a performer), yet refuses to allow union representation of any sort inside the doors of her studio, instead paying substandard wages and benefits to non-union crews. It is a travesty that Oprah feels no responsibility to those who helped her create her billions in profit, but that’s the way things are and it’s part of the reason union representation is so vital in this industry.
Never really dug Oprah's act, but this is complicating my efforts to find things to like about the gentleman from Illinois.

Hat tip to Digby.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

You've heard all the heavy groups…

…now it's time for morning maniac music. This weeks random ten…
David Gans - Ripple>Fare Thee Well
Hank Williams - Honky Tonk Blues
Danny Morris - Pipeline
Patsy Cline - I Fall To Pieces
Lou Reed - Sweet Jane
Dwight Yoakam - I'd Avoid Me Too
Keely Smith - One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
Louis Jordan - Five Guys Named Moe
James McMurtry - Out Here In The Middle
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - Satin Doll
Oh yeah, the brown acid? Too intense. Stay away.

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Me too.

I wish the Congress to shout out their support for habeas, grab Bush and Cheney by the arms, and parade them out of D.C. with their Joe Btfsplk clouds trailing behind. I wish cold fusion worked. I wish I had a million dollars. I wish I was too young to remember Joe Btfsplk.

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Getting better all the time.

Reno, NevadaThe Communications Workers of America in Nevada today announced its endorsement of Senator John Edwards for president. The Communications Workers of America represents both active and retired members throughout the state of Nevada.
Doesn't really sound like a campaign on its heels, does it?

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Ya' just gotta love him.

Joe Biden
"I didn't say anything negative about Giuliani. I just don't think he knows what the hell he is talking about."
See what I mean?

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I can't do it better…

…(I tried) so I'll just let …Ezra explain Why Health Insurance Isn't Like Auto Insurance.

It isn't, you know.

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The Valley News Today of Shenandoah, Iowa, departs from their typical hands off position and endorses my man John. Why?
Simply put, he represents the best of what this country has to offer.
Yep. (More here.)

Oh, Shenandoah, I love your paper.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Today's guest prevaricator is…

…White House flack Dana Perino.
OK, look. I can see where you could see that the president could have been more precise in that language. But the president was being truthful.

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From the House of Labor…

…via Michigan for Edwards.
"Our members are emphatic in their support for Senator Edwards, and anxious to get involved."

Noel Beasly, manager of the Regional Joint Board, announcing the UNITE-HERE Midwest Region endorsement of John Edwards.
It's a big'un…

The Midwest Regional Joint Board represents over 50,000 workers in clothing factories, hotels and restaurants, sports venues, gaming casinos, airports, laundries, warehouses and auto parts facilities, etc. in 11 states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin (there are two independent locals in Chicago who are not part of the Midwest Board and have not endorsed anyone). Beasley said the board's support for Edwards was longtime and unanimous.

The Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board plans to go to work for the former North Carolina senator immediately -- with volunteers, staff and financial assistance -- and will work in conjunction with other unions including the SEIUs that cover the territory and have endorsed Edwards (Iowa, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota). Beasley states that they should have 40 to 50 volunteers and staff in Iowa within a week.
Welcome aboard, Brothers & Sisters, and congrats to Senator Edwards.

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Pass it on...

I got it from Fixer who got it from...

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"It's not rocket science."

Dr. Carol Hogue, Emory University professor of maternal and child health.
It's biology.

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If you haven't heard…

…Roy at 13 is happy to tell you.
George W. Bush is a liar. He is not to be trusted.
There's a consensus building...

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007


“The people’s decision will be upheld in respect of the basic rule of democracy: the winning option is the one that gets most votes.”
Nope. Not Madison, either.

Hugo Chavez is schooling us on democracy.


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Sometimes the truth isn't easy to hear.

From a new Edwards ad in New Hampshire…
"And we can say as long as we get Democrats in, everything's gonna be O.K. It's a lie. It's not the truth. Do you really believe if we replace a crowd of corporate Republicans with a crowd of corporate Democrats that anything meaningful's gonna change?"
That's true enough. Getting Democrats in won't make everything O.K. It makes a lot of things better, no doubt, but the changes are largely around the margins. The 'better' part of 'more and better Democrats' is the hardest part.

President Edwards would be a great start.

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Truthdig, to be exact…
Bush is such a liar.
So I've heard.

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From the Department of Redundancy Department…

…via VetVoice.
Robert Scheer says President Bush is a liar.
File it under "Me too."

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Relax, people.

They'll all have a Republican or two in the Cabinet. They always do.

Hell, Bush had a Democrat.

People would actually make a candidate selection over this?


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My man John…

…already against the next war.
"Enough is enough. At long last, the spin and the saber-rattling must stop. We must once and for all reject the failed, bellicose, neoconservative foreign policy of the Bush Administration, and get back to the foreign policy I have proposed based on diplomacy, reengagement, and restoring the moral authority of America."

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Dear Senator Obama,

Could you do something about your friend? Via firedoglake...
Republican Senator Tom Coburn is holding up legislation that would help prevent children from drowning in pool drain accidents.
What is it you like about this guy again?

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Monday, December 03, 2007

From the "When she's right…" file.

"A President can't vote 'present'."
She's right. Ducking votes on choice and guns? Might have seemed prudent back in the Illinois State Senate, but it demands some response now.

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Anatomy lesson.

Via Hell's Handmaiden, who's classy enough to provide some socially redeeming context...

I'll settle for the cheap laugh. The Handmaiden's right. This is a helluva time sink.

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Me neither.


Sorry, Dick.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 — A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains on hold…

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John not only has the most progressive and far-reaching ideas, but he's also the best Democratic candidate to lead us to victory in 2008.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa
Thanks, Congressman, and congrats, Senator.

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If it looks like a duck…

Hillary's going low
Asked directly whether she intended to raise questions about Obama's character, she replied: "It's beginning to look a lot like that."
This from our invincible frontrunner, who can imagine no outcome but victory.


Another take from Atrios...
I admit I really don't care about what Clinton said about Obama, and what the Obama camp responded with, and what the latest Iowa polls say, blah blah blah.
Well, yeah, but it's nothing she says that interests me so much as that she now feels compelled to say it.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

And now...


Saturday, December 01, 2007

The music never stops.

Another random ten...
Willie Cobbs - Jukin'
Gerald Wilson Orchestra - Cruisin' With Cab
Crazy Mary - Brian Jones
Johnny Cash - In The Jailhouse Now
Howling Wolf - Smokestack Lightning
Dana Lyons - I'd Go Anywhere To Fight For Oil To Lubricate Te Red, White & Blue
Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Jole Blon
B3 Bombers w/Clyde Stubblefield - Baskin In It
Gram Parsons & The Fallen Angels - Return Of The Grevious Angel
Down By Law - Bright Green Globe

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