Sunday, November 30, 2008

And now...


Saturday, November 29, 2008

From the "Modest proposal" file.

Hart Williams has a good one, and a passel of fun facts for history buffs...
...The Liberty cap was CENSORED from the statue [atop the Capitol dome in DC] in the 1850s because of Southern Antebellum Political Correctness. (Or, should I say, ‘Keerecktnis’?). That craven action needs to be rectified.
I'm in.

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C'mon, you know you want it...

...and if you don't? Hey, it's good for you. Today's random ten...
The Youngbloods - Hippie From Olema No. 5
Richard & Mimi Fariña - Hard-Loving Loser
Railroad Earth - The Good Life
Warren Zevon - Werewolves Of London
Dwight Yoakum - Honky Tonk Man
Heather Myles - By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Brigitte DeMeyer - Roll 'Em Easy
Rodney Crowell - The Last Waltz
The Drifters - Save The Last Dance For Me
Willie Nelson - Funny How The Time Slips Away

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Good question…

…from Lee.
How long will it be before people start treating Black Friday like an American version of Pamplona, where people dash into a Wal-Mart at 5am not to buy stuff, but solely for the thrill of surviving the stampede?
My sole errand today was an emissions test for my pick'em up truck (passed on the first try this year), and the journey involved the briefest brush with mall traffic. Personally, I can't imagine what possesses people, but they seem to find the efforts of advertisers (and willing accomplices in news departments everywhere) to gin up a retail frenzy with planned shortages on the most attractive bargains compelling.

I'm sure there'll be more deals next week. Maybe better ones that don't involve 4:00 am alarms.

Or, hopefully, fatal injuries.

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From the "Me neither" file.

...I was never under the illusion that Barack Obama is Santa Claus and that The Plan was that he would make all our Progressive Dreams come true and give everybody a free scoop of Ben and Jerry’s in the process.
Me neither.

Of course, I'm still pretty skeptical of the whole notion of "Progressive Dreams," since it still seems to me that having been adopted by, among others, liberals afraid of being called "liberal," radicals afraid of being called "radical" and Republicans afraid of being called "Republican," "progressive" doesn't mean much at all.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

I've much to be thankful for...

...not the least of which is the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left's annual transformation into the Queen of Thanksgiving. Right now this house smells so good I'd be nibbling on the furniture if she didn't keep me distracted with bits of cheese and bacon and such.

So there's that. And health. And grandkids. And Barry O'.

And all y'all.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Chuck Norris may be tough, but then again, so is gristle...

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quote of the day.

The President-in-waiting...
"This isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about building a smarter government that focuses on what works."
I confess to lingering resentment about Bill Clinton's notorious declaration that the era of "big government" had come to an end. That's absurd, of course, in the context of a nation of hundreds of millions, with a vast territorial reach and vital social, economic and security interests on every continent. Worse, it implies that there's some legitimacy to the "big government" boogeyman that the right wing uses as a blunt weapon against every worthwhile government program or regulation.

Our government will be, by most any standard, "big." That's not the question. The question is, of course, whether the government is effective. Efficiency counts, too, but size? "Big" is unavoidable.

Nice to have a reality-based President on the horizon.

Hat tip to Jason Black at NPI.

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Have I mentioned lately…

…how much I hate what they've done to my Army? Via VetVoice...
Army substance abuse counselors are swamped. Domestic violence among military families is a concern. Suicides are up. Entrance standards have been lowered considerably. And, as of a year ago, 58 percent of the West Point class of 2002 had already left the Army…
It's broken.


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Monday, November 24, 2008


Sir Charles...
...Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Michael Steele and Alan Keyes, otherwise known as the "Four Tops of the Apocalypse."

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From the "Since you asked" file.

Mike Malloy...
I would like to see Barack Obama succeed in leading this country back from the brink of collapse and on to the sort of balance we all desperately need.

Want to go along for the ride?
Since you asked, yes.

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From the "Heckuva job" file.

Paul Krugman...
...this bailout is an outrage: a lousy deal for the taxpayers, no accountability for management, and just to make things perfect, quite possibly inadequate...
Is it 1/20 yet?

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From the "Me neither" file.

Creature, via Fixer...
... I, for one, certainly didn't vote for Obama thinking he was Dennis Kucinich ...
Nope, me neither.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

I keep telling you…

…you should be listening to me. From Intercollegiate Studies Institute American Civic Literacy Test...
You answered 31 out of 33 correctly — 93.94 %
Not perfect? Perhaps, but consider...
Seventy-one percent of Americans fail the test, with an overall average score of 49%.

Liberals score 49%; conservatives score 48%. Republicans score 52%; Democrats score 45%.

Fewer than half of all Americans can name all three branches of government, a minimal requirement for understanding America’s constitutional system.
I'm not sure if I should be proud of myself or shamed by my countrymen.

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Not a Friedman Unit (™ Atrios) too soon...

Friedman his own self says
Just get me a Supreme Court justice and a Bible, and let’s swear in Barack Obama right now — by choice — with the same haste we did — by necessity — with L.B.J. in the back of Air Force One.
I'm in.

Hat tip to Gordon.

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And now...

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

My own personal Congressman…

…answers The Big Question
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.): There is no American more capable or better able to serve our nation as Secretary of State than Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and I enthusiastically applaud the news that she has accepted an invitation to serve from President-elect Barack Obama...
So, is Jim considered "center-right" these days?

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I can't, of course...

...let the date pass without notice. It's hard to say anything about what it means that folks much younger than me would understand, though, and folks my age? Well, we know, don't we?

It's an anniversary that's been commemorated for 45 years, but this year is different.

This year, I can't escape the feeling that much of what we lost on November 22, 1963 was restored on November 4, 2008. It's been a long time coming...

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OK, then…

…it doesn't look like I'll get my pick at Treasury. I knew it was a long shot. I take some comfort, though, in Professor Reich's apparent comfort with, if not excitement over, the developing Obama economic team. "They are," he observes
"...not visionaries but we don't need visionaries when the economic perils are clear and immediate. We need competence. Obama could not appoint a more competent group."
Personally, I think competence sounds pretty damned exciting at this point.

So, if not Reich at Treasury, how about Gary Hart at Defense?

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Once again...

...a random ten.
Jim's Big Ego - In A Bar
Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen - Things We Said Today
Sam Cooke - Only Sixteen
George Jones - Skip A Rope
Kinky Friedman - Sold American
Nanci Griffith & Arlo Guthrie - Tecumseh Valley
Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Waiting For A Train
Linda Ronstadt - Love Is A Rose
Jackson Browne - Doctor My Eyes
Lovin' Spoonful - Lovin' You

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Speaking of endangered species...'s another Republican for the list.

Aravosis has more.

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Quote of the day.

“I know conceptually what we support, and I know that the Endangered Species Act is a tangled web that doesn’t actually help support any species, including our own.”

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino
See, I'da figured that Republican White House officials would be feeling very protective of endangered species right about now...

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Friday Flashback.

Five years ago on Upper Left…
Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie was in town last week, pinning high hopes on the state of Washington according to The Stranger.

"Washington is a priority for Republicans in the 2004 elections, Gillespie said, describing the state as "ground zero" in the party's efforts to maintain control of the U.S. Senate, expand its governorships, and reelect President Bush in 2004."
Ah, the heady days of the 'permanent Republican majority.'

(Of course, we held the Senate seat and the Governor's mansion and delivered the upper left for John Kerry.)

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Letters from God.

Dear Representative Bachmann

Love, God

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To everything there is a season...

WASHINGTON - More than three decades after he first appeared before the panel as a 27-year-old Vietnam veteran-turned-antiwar protester, Senator John F. Kerry will be named chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, giving him enormous influence over President-elect Barack Obama's foreign policy, according to congressional officials.
Welcome all the way home, brother...

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From the "Me too" file.

Chris Bowers...
The long and short of my view is this: it's all true. Everything you are writing and/or thinking about the progressive blogosphere is correct, almost no matter what you are writing or thinking. There is one exception: if you are arguing that the progressive blogosphere is any one thing, holds any one position, or represents any singular group, then and only then are you wrong.
Yep. Me too.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I've been saving notes…

…for an epic post on the Lieberman matter, but tremayne has tied a neat bow around the whole business…
The Evolution of Blog Opinion

Most 2007: Lieberman sucks but at least he votes with us sometimes.

Dec., 2007: I can’t believe he’s endorsing McCain. Loser.

July, 2008: If he speaks at the RNC then he’s OUT!

Sep.,2008: Traitor! I can’t stand the sight of his smirky little face.

Nov., 2008: He must lose his committee chairmanship.

(Obama intercedes)

Today: You guys are a bunch of babies for whining about Lieberman so much.

I resemble those remarks.

It really comes down to second guessing the President-elect. My track record doing so is, well, pretty shabby, really. Don't get me wrong. If Joe Lieberman had lost his chairmanship, I'd be leading cheers. For the moment, though, I'll assume Barry O' knows what he's doing, even if I don't.

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From the "Heckuva job" file.

Some 691,000 children went hungry in America sometime in 2007, while close to one in eight Americans struggled to feed themselves adequately even before this year's sharp economic downtown, the Agriculture Department reported Monday.
It's a disgrace, and it's dangerous. Food security is national security.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Nick Beaudrot
Reid, Lieberman, and Barack Obama have about fifty top priorities right now, and "mollifying The Left" just isn't one of them. Getting health care and foreign policy and tax-reform and economic stimulus legislation through the Senate is going to feel like giving birth to a baby grand.
..."Getting health care and foreign policy and tax-reform and economic stimulus legislation through the Senate" seems like an agenda tailor-made for mollifying anything fit to call itself "The Left."

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…counting the idies.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Mark Begich, the Democratic Anchorage mayor, has defeated Sen. Ted Stevens in a closely contested, see-saw race for the United States Senate, according to Associated Press projections.
Franken's going to an automatic recount, and we can still defeat Saxby Chambliss.

I want it all.

Heard it first from Gordon.

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I love me some…

Texas grand juries.

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Tuesday Quarterback blogging.

The shirt in question.

"What's that on you shirt, Grandpa?"

"That? That's America."

"Oh! Bawack Obama!"

Kid'll be a registered voter in 15 1/2 years.

Time is on our side.

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In other words…

…you have to win where the people are. Doug Sutherland, on his belated concession to new Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark…
“At this juncture, the people of King County have spoken,” Sutherland said. “As a rule of thumb for Republicans, you do well in the rest of the state and do at least 40 percent in King County and you can win. It’s been that way for the last couple of decades and it’s just getting worse.”
It's true he fell a hair short of 40% in King County, but he had problems elsewhere, too. Goldmark not only won where the people are, he did pretty well over in Jefferson County (where the trees are) up north and back home in Okanogan, where folks know him best and where Sutherland lost a county where Dino Rossi got over 60%.

But, yeah, if you can't get 40% in the county where over a quarter of the votes are cast, you're probably in trouble.

And if Doug Sutherland thinks it's "just getting worse," well, then, it's getting better all the time.

Hat tip to Goldy.

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Good news…

from Georgia.
The AFL-CIO is launching a major effort over the next three weeks to help Democrat Jim Martin best Sen. Saxby Chambliss in the GA Senate run-off. The group will drop a new mailer to 81K union voters and begin a "wide-scale" ground campaign.
I'm sure that mailer will give many Georgians valuable information about Saxby Chambliss, but you can't get everything about Saxby Chambliss into one little brochure. Some people with questions about Saxby Chambliss will probably look for Saxby Chambliss information on the internet, perhaps by searching for Saxby Chambliss on the Google. Helping people curious about Saxby Chambliss get the best possible Saxby Chambliss search results is a patriotic obligation to our fellow citizens down south.

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Quote of the day.

"I don't for a minute want to harsh anybody's mellow," but "no president takes us to the promised land."

Bill Ayers

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Monday, November 17, 2008


From driftglass.
To sustain a vital Middle Class that can afford to travel, buy presents for their kids, eat out and get their nails done, first:





Yep, you do.

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Pass it on.

From Chris Bowers to desmoinesdem to me to you…

Have you started linking to Saxby Chambliss yet? The more people who do, the higher it will appear in search engine rankings. If we can push it into the first ten results for Saxby Chambliss in Georgia, then it will result in a lot of excellent voter contacts. Everyone who encounters the site will be a voter looking for more information on Saxby Chambliss, and we can show them this great website made by an enterprising activist.


Do it for my buddy Max...

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Imagine there's no torture.

No Gitmo, neither.

We're not the only ones. The President-elect agrees.

Howie's got video. I've got another reason to feel better about my country.

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Today, President-elect Barack Obama announced the following key White House staff, Pete Rouse, Jim Messina and Mona Sutphen.
…does this mean that Kenny Loggins is still in the mix for Secretary of Tunes?

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

See, things are getting better already.

Some welcome sanity from Seattle's U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan, via Lee
“Today, I informed the Border Patrol that all future small possession cases may be referred to state or local law enforcement, but will not be pursued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office due to a lack of federal interest in the prosecution.”
As long as "small possession" = at least the established medical marijuana limits, this is very good news.

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And now...


Saturday, November 15, 2008

I didn't know…

…that Dick Cavett has a blog. Now I do, thanks to Comments From Left Field.

Some really first class, if not particularly frequent, snark.

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And now for something completely different…

Well, pretty different, anyway. Still ten songs, but this time rather than pulling them randomly off my hard drive, here's the ten most played on my Shuffle…
Nina Gordon - Straight Out Of Compton
David Gans - Normal
Mollie O'Brien - No Ash Will Burn
The Gourds - Ziggy Stardust
John Wesley Harding - Like A Prayer
Mollie O'Brien - Brown Eyed Handsome Man
Taj Mahal - Johnny Too Bad
The Kingston Trio - Scotch And Soda
Kris Kristofferson - Me And Bobby McGee
The Lovin' Spoonful - Younger Generation
Yeah, I'm on a bit of a Mollie O'Brien jag. That's a good thing.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

A day in the life…

…of America, via AMERICAblog.

Citi to cut another 10,000 jobs

AIG to pay top management over $500 million

85,000 foreclosures in October

Depression - it's not just a feeling anymore.

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Well, yeah…

NBC's Mark Murray...
If Obama selects Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State, it would be an ironic pick -- given that Team Obama downplayed her foreign-policy credentials (especially as first lady) during the Democratic primary season.
I mean, that's one of the things I thought Obama was right about from the beginning.

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In other words...

Stan Greenberg and Bob Borosage in The American Prospect...
...And that is all moderates are looking for. They aren't skeptical about the need for government. By large margins, they think regulation does more good than harm. They want investments made in education and training. They favor a concerted government-led drive for energy independence. They far prefer a health-care plan with a choice between their current insurance and a public plan like Medicare, rather than one that would give them a tax credit to negotiate with insurance companies on their own. Their concern is less that government will do too much and more that government will fail to do what it must and waste their money in the process.
…"moderates" are liberal.

Thought so.

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Since Mars seems to be closed for the season...

...the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat has consented to appear in this space.

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Silly season.

I know we're all a bit giddy with the election results, but some generally sensible folk around the left blogosphere really need to take some deep breaths. In the first of a few examples, Kevin Drum opines...
The public face of his economic policy, after all, was almost entirely based on tax cuts, a distinctly conservative notion.
Kevin, do you really want to cede that ground? What in the world is illiberal about tax cuts as such? Wouldn't a tax cut that's part of a program to increase the progressivity of the tax code be, well, progressive?

Over at Best of the Blogs, Leftcoast is worried about Congressional cooperation...
The Pugs are in disarray, perhaps for a generation, but the Dems face the same fate, particularly if Pelosi and Reid dig in and become as obstructionist to Obama as the Dem congress was to Clinton in 1992.
With all due respect to St. Bill, if Obama tosses over his health care proposals in favor of Clinton's Insurance Industry Enrichment…erm…Health Security Act, or introduces a sweeping new transcontinental free trade deal that ignores US labor and environmental interests, or attempts to dismantle the next layer of Great Society programs in the name of "small" government, well, I hope Nancy, Harry and each and every one of their Democratic colleagues dig as deep need be.

Of course, I don't expect any of that to occur under an Obama administration. It will be different, I believe, but not likely as different as Leftcoast seems to believe…
If we have chosen a new politics, which I believe we have, we abandoned virtually all of the old paradigm, at least for now. Race doesn’t matter, liberal vs. conservative doesn’t matter. Red state vs. blue state doesn’t matter. The electorate agreed overwhelmingly with Obama that we have no time for that...
In America, race always matters. Liberal vs. conservative still matters. Red state vs. blue state never mattered.

And the only thing I'm sure the electorate overwhelmingly agreed on was that Bush has been a disaster. Most of them thought McCain was a little too much like Bush. People are ready for change, but I suspect most people don't have a very well defined policy framework to represent the change they're ready for. The notion, though, that last week's election outcome swept aside all ideological, racial and social divisions once and for all misreads the landscape and overlooks the hazards before us.

Country Doc looks at the coming health care debate from a similar "way-new" politics approach, calling the Obama health care plan...
"…an undertaking that necessitates a non-political and non-partisan approach…"
Doc's point was made in a case against placing Tom Daschle in a key health care role because he's too tainted with the traditional wheeling and dealing of the other Washington. I haven't really assessed Daschle's fitness for the role, but being well acquainted with key legislators and knowing how to move legislation wouldn't be disqualifying factors in my book. Sorry, Doc, but any legislative project of this scale is inherently political, and if you think it won't be partisan, I refer you to the Republican platform. These are people who think the progressive income tax is Marxist. Non-partisan is a non-starter.

Of course, we can always avoid fighting them by becoming them, I suppose. It seems to be where John Aravosis is headed with this...
Reid has the power to remove Joe Lieberman's committee chair and/or kick him out of the Democratic caucus. Yes, Lieberman has to be put up to a vote before the full Democratic caucus. But if Reid were a real leader, he could get his way in a snap. No one is going to challenge their leader if he says that he absolutely wants Lieberman out. At least that's the way it works on the Republican side of the aisle. There, discipline matters. And it shows in how they vote.
Yep, we do things different, alright. We use a democratic system that respects the will of the members, each elected by their constituents to the same office as the leader. Our leader is first among equals, the servant, for a time, of the members who elected him, just as under our Constitution the president is just a citizen, elevated for a time as first among his equals (that's us). Sometimes some of the members will disagree with the leader, sometimes most of them will. It's the inevitable result of the "big tent" approach to party building.

Sometimes that system will produce a result that some, or many, of us won't like much. On the other hand, we know that the only thing the way they do it can successfully produce is disaster. I'll take my chances with our frequently messy and periodically frustrating way of doing things.

I mean, sheesh. Everybody breathe.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

They're back…

The folks at Bumperactive, who brought us the "50 Ways To Vote Obama" project are back with a new collection of victory stickers. My earlier order for Obama swag put me on the list for one of these, gratis...

It’s good stuff, and they're chipping in a portion of the proceeds to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is fighting the good fight for everyone interested in the internet as an avenue of free exchange. There's more. Go see.

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WASHINGTON - A senior Pentagon advisory group, in a series of bluntly worded briefings, is warning President-elect Barack Obama that the Defense Department's current budget is "not sustainable," and he must scale back or eliminate some of the military's most prized weapons programs.
Heck, I can't imagine better news for the new President than a Pentagon that's on board with wiping out the budget bloat of hardware boondoggles.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008


…to a longtime pal o' Upper Left.
...Jesse Lee, a leading Web operative who handled Rahm Emanuel's DCCC internet outreach operation during the 2006 take-back of Congress, has been hired to do online communications. Obama's transition team confirms the hires.
Might be that the greater congratulations should go to the Obama transition, which just got itself one of the best.

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What a day for a daydream...

(You can click it a bit bigger.)

Hat tip to egregious at firedoglake.

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Paging Rev. Wright...

Georgia Republican Congressman Paul Broun, via The Rude One
"God cannot and will not continue to bless a nation that murders over 3,000 innocent babies every day..."
So, is he saying that his god will, umm, "damn" America for its sins? The path to national salvation seems to be a slippery slope indeed.

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Hey, hey, LBJ…

…I hope you're feeling good today. Stanley Kutler at Truthdig...
After the voting rights bill passed, presidential aide Bill Moyers found LBJ rather downcast. “Why?” Moyers asked. “Because, Bill,” the president replied, “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come.” It is true that Strom Thurmond, Newt Gingrich and the Southern Democrats who became Republicans indeed profited from the 1965 legislation.

Johnson was right, but only for a short run. Forty-odd years is not terribly long, given the eventual payoff in 2008.
Yeah, yeah, the war and all. I was there - literally. You don't have to tell me.

Dollars to donuts, though, that if we hadn't had LBJ when we did, we wouldn't have Barack Obama when we do.

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From the "Since you asked" file.

Josh Hammond ponders proposals for an auto industry bailout…
Shouldn’t there be strings, no make that chains, attached to a bailout? Shouldn’t Congress, and Obama, insist on none of the money going to SUVs and that all cars and trucks meet higher fuel standards in five years? Shouldn’t there be an incentive clause to increase fuel efficiency in less than five years? Shouldn’t the money be spent on retooling and not on marketing?
Since you asked, yes, at the very least.

This is an opportunity for an industry to reboot for the 21st century. If they're willing to do that, the nation should support their efforts. Nothing, though, for business as usual.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just in case my kids are checking in...'s getting to be holiday hints season...

Style On Line

Hmmm, wonder if it comes in a sweatshirt or hoody. I'm sure it comes in large...

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Good point.

Better question. Markos...
The Homeland Security committee was the committee with jurisdiction over the administration's handling of Katrina. Anyone remember Lieberman using it to hold the administration accountable for drowning an entire city?
Shouldn't just being lousy at it be reason enough to lose the job?

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Happy Veteran's Day…

…to all my brothers and sisters in arms who made it back.

In the company of soldiers
I have no need to explain myself
In the company of soldiers
everybody understands.

In the company of soldiers,
I don't have to pretend to be the person I'm not
Or strike that pose, however well-intended, that is expected
by those who have not known me under arms.

In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven
I am safe
I am known
I am home
In the company of soldiers.

Stephanos, 327 B.C.E.

Hat tip to The Minstrel Boy, who knows.

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Fridays are going to be different around here, I guess…
Nasa says its Phoenix lander on the surface of Mars has gone silent and is almost certainly dead.

Engineers have not heard from the craft since Sunday 2 November when it made a brief communication with Earth. Phoenix, which landed on the planet's northern plains in May, had been struggling in the increasing cold and dark of an advancing winter.
Phoenix produced some sensational images and landmark science.

Some awe and wonder, too. This time was bound to come, I suppose, but it provokes a moment of melancholy just the same.

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Monday, November 10, 2008



Obama Meets With Dangerous World Leader Without Preconditions

…and Oliver.

“Well, As You Know, We Won’t Need To Measure The Drapes”

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The good…

Via 538...
In 2008, there were seven direct elections of Secretaries of State who control oversight of statewide elections. Going into the elections, Democrats held four seats while Republicans held three. After Tuesday, Democrats hold six of the seven up for grabs.
…and the bad (it's ugly.)
Only in Washington did the incumbent Republican hold his seat.
Sorry about that, America. There's a stubborn streak of contrariness (adherents like to call it 'independence') in the upper leftian electorate that manifests itself in ticket splitting. For some reason, Secretary of State has traditionally been seen as a "safe" opportunity for an otherwise rational person to vote for a Republican.

Combined with down-ballot drop-off (nearly 200,000 presidential voters didn't marke their ballots for SOS), ticket splitting has returned Republican Sam Reed, the man who created the "Prefers GOP Party" shield for Dino Rossi and who has supervised the radical distortion of our state primaries, essentially forcing a single party ballot on a number of districts and effectively disenfranchising thousands of genuine third party voters in our state.

The challenge for Jason Osgood was formidable. It wasn't just the traditional ticket splitters and ballot drop-off working against him. Getting his message heard through the din surrounding a historic presidential campaign, a high profile gubenatorial rematch and one of the most celebrated Congressional challengers in the country was nearly impossible without almost unimaginable resources. A similar fate befell John Ladenburg, the Democratic challenger for Attorney General.

A thought - what if we elected the statewide constitutional officers in off-year elections, without presidential and gubenatorial distractions? It might enhance public awareness of not only the campaigns, but of the actual duties and importance of the offices themselves.

Anyway, again, sorry America.

And sorry to Jason and John, too. You fought the good fight. You deserved a better result.

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This is the President-Elect of the United States.

How freaking cool is that.

Photo snagged from Charles Mudede at Slog.

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Robert Reich for Secretary of the Treasury.

Could happen. Should. And not just because he's a blogger...
So the crucial questions become (1) how much will the government have to spend to get the economy back on track? and (2) what sort of spending will have the biggest impact on jobs and incomes?

The answer to the first question is "a lot." Given the magnitude of the mess and the amount of underutilized capacity in the economy-- people who are or will soon be unemployed, those who are underemployed, factories shuttered, offices empty, trucks and containers idled -- government may have to spend $600 or $700 billion next year to reverse the downward cycle we're in.

The answer to the second question is mostly "infrastructure" -- repairing roads and bridges, levees and ports; investing in light rail, electrical grids, new sources of energy, more energy conservation. Even conservative economists like Harvard's Martin Feldstein are calling for government to stimulate the economy through infrastructure spending. Infrastructure projects like these pack a double-whammy: they create lots of jobs, and they make the economy work better in the future. (Important qualification: To do this correctly and avoid pork, the federal government will need to have a capital budget that lists infrastructure projects in order of priority of public need.)

Government should also spend on health care and child care. These expenditures are also double whammies: they, too, create lots of jobs, and they fulfill vital public needs.
For now, it's reassuring at least that these ideas are represented on President-elect Obama's economic transition team.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

You really should listen to me...

There Are 0 Gaps in Your Knowledge

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Well, yeah…

The Governor of Alaska...
It's amazing that we did as well as we did.
I gotta give her that. Some people actually voted for McCain-Palin.

A bunch of 'em.

Amazing to me, too.

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We won some important battles Tuesday. A bunch of 'em. The war, however, drags on. Via Modern Science
The Gov of Texas has just appointed a 6-person committee to revamp the state's K-12 science curriculum. One of these six individuals is a creationist. A second person on the committee is not just any ol' creationist, but the director of the US's biggest creationist organization: Stephen C. Meyer, director of the Discovery Institute. And the chair of the committee is Donald McLeroy, who has gone on record as saying that biology textbooks containing evolution are anti-Christian and anti-American.
They're not going to just give up and go away because we won a national election.

Celebrate, sure, but post sentries.

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Delete this administration?

Please. The WaPo, via Hilzoy...
Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.
Good start, but only 200?

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And now...

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Leo the Steelworker speaks out…

…at The Hill.
Obama’s First 100 Days Scream for Boldness, Not Piddling Plans

By United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard

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Brighter again.

A little less hate in the House...
...Blue America candidate Tom Perriello came from behind and won a slim, hard fought, grassroots victory against one of Congress' worst members, corrupt bigot Virgil Goode...

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Quote of the day.

“The party in the Northeast is all but extinct; the party on the West Coast is all but extinct...there has to be a message and a vision that is compelling to people in order for them to come back and to give consideration to the Republican Party again.”
McCain campaign chief strategist Steve Schmidt
Good luck with that.


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While the President-Elect changes the tone...

...deliberately, I'm still changing the tunes randomly.
Randy Newman - Louisiana 1927
Peter, Paul & Mary - Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
Christine Lavin - Ain't Love Grand
Tom Paxton - Talkin' Vietnam Potluck Blues
Carl Perkins - Matchbox
The Lovin' Spoonful - You're A Big Boy Now
Jerry Jeff Walker - Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother
John Hammond, Jr. - Come On In My Kitchen
Coyote Run - Northwest Passage
Aztec Camera - Jump

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And the lights dim a bit…

It is likely at this point that Congressman Reichert has won re-election, and while we will certainly ensure that every valid vote is counted, we accept the decision of the voters.
The classy gesture you'd expect from Burner, but she was robbed, plain and simple, by the conjunction of a front page smear in the Seattle Times and the likely criminal line of credit extended by Reichert's media buyers, allowing him to broadcast the smear in the closing days of the campaign.

Darcy will be fine, I'm sure. Smart, personable, attractive Harvard graduates tend to do fine in our society.

Our country, though, has lost a treasure.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Mars blogging.

Animated full-circle panoramic view here.

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Yes we did!

You can click it bigger. MoveOn has free stickers.

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From the "Me too" file.

A Buzzflash editorial
Yes, you can look at Emanuel's appointment as a setback for progressive ideals, or you can look at it as an indication that Obama is prepared to do battle.

Personally, I'm hoping it's the latter.
Me too.

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And counting...

Hat tip to jnfr.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Along with Rahm...

...David Axelrod, another Chicago native who served as Obama’s chief strategist during his presidential campaign, will become a senior adviser in the Obama White House.
Another good pick. There's some fretting about Emanuel having the President's ear on his pet policy issues, but they're close friends as well as political allies. He's going to have access in any event, as an in-house advisor or as a leader of the Democratic House caucus. It's not a question of the access he may have to Obama, but of the access he brings to Obama - access to both Emanuel's practical political acumen (he may, on occasion, want to do the wrong thing, but he knows how to get things done just the same. I'll trust Obama to set him to work on doing the right things.) and a network built up as a key player both in the White House and the Capitol Building.

Axelrod, who is also a personal friend of and political advisor to Emanuel, is coming off the most disciplined national campaign I've seen in forty some years of paying attention. I admit, in fact, to being somewhat in awe of both the conduct and the achievement of the campaign, and any senior players that can be brought into substantive positions at an Obama White House are going to get a major measure of indulgence from me.

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Getting better all the time.

The AP calls it...
Goldmark wins lands commissioner seat

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Screw him, then.

Bolstered by a newly expanded majority, Harry Reid met with Joe Lieberman on Thursday to sketch out the conditions by which the Connecticut independent could continue to caucus with Senate Democrats. But Lieberman did not accept Reid's initial offers, leaving his future in the caucus uncertain, and potentially setting off a campaign to pressure the Democratic steering committee to decide Lieberman's fate.

Reid offered Lieberman a deal to step down as chairman of the homeland security committee but take over the reins of another subcommittee, likely overseeing economic or small business issues officials said.
Reid's offer seems extraordinarily generous to me, but not completely unacceptable. If Joe Lieberman is going to spurn that generosity then the discussion should be closed. If he votes for the Democratic leadership when the new Congress organizes, then he should be permitted to attend general meetings of the caucus, with no appointments and with his seniority reset to zero on the day of that vote.

He is not today a Democrat. He has not been elected as our nominee, nor has he supported our ticket. That leadership vote is the price of his readmission, but readmission alone should be his reward.

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From the "When you put it like that…" file.

Stephen Suh offers his "policy prescription for a totally centrist Obama Administration…"
· Get the USA out of Iraq. This is the majority position in the country, the centrist view.

· Protect women's right to choose along with access to safe abortions and birth control in all areas of the country. The clear majority of Americans want abortion and birth control to be legal and accessible, which makes protecting these the most centrist position available.

· Establish a national system of healthcare. The majority of Americans are dissatisfied with our current system and want to see everyone in the country provided with access to care.

· Nothing is more quintessentially American, nothing more centrist than the idea that Americans, more than anyone else in the world, are free to chart their own course through life. No idea is embraced by more Americans of all political stripes than that we are a free nation. Therefore, the centrist position for Obama is to tear down the roadblocks to full equality for the LBGTQ community that religious extremists have been able to erect. Full marriage equality for all Americans is the centrist position, all others are extremist.

· Also central to the character of America is the idea that anyone, no matter the circumstances of their birth, can become wealthy, or famous, or powerful depending solely upon their desires and willingness to work hard. A corollary to this idea is that we have no aristocracy. This is not a nation set up to reward people simply for being born. Therefore, Obama should follow the eminently centrist path of reforming our tax code and corporate regulatory regime so that the children and friends of the rich and powerful are no longer rewarded for merely existing.
Personally, I'm fine with "governing from the center" if it's done with the understanding that at the very heart of everything American lies the ideological and philosophical underpinnings of the framers of the Constitution, liberalism. The Constitution is nothing more than a blueprint for the governance of a liberal nation, which is why conservatives always make such a hash of it. Their essentially non- (if not anti-) American ideology is simply incompatible with the operation of our government as it is designed.

Liberalism is the American center.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Worth repeating.

Via Jessica
"Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Barack could run. President Obama was just elected so our children can fly."

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Bright moments…

GOP Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave was unseated tonight by Democratic challenger Betsy Markey after another intense campaign that blasted voters with nasty attack ads.
The only thing Musgrave was good for was spiking the progressive outrage meter with the hate that rolled so trippingly off her tongue. Good riddance.
Ousting 22-year veteran Rep. Chris Shays in Connecticut gave Democrats every House seat from New England. Their victory in an open seat on New York's Staten Island gave them control of all of New York City's delegation in Washington for the first time in 35 years.
Another stake in the heart of the 'moderate Republican' myth.
Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., who chairs a subcommittee with the most influence on the Pentagon's spending, who had a scare after calling his district south of Pittsburgh "racist," won easy re-election.
He's not exactly the model of a progressive Democrat, but he's a critical ally to the Speaker when she needs to move the Blue Dogs in the right direction and he's been in the right place, if not always for the right reasons, on the war. Good to see he wasn't punished for honesty.
Democrats won new majorities in the Delaware House, Ohio House, Wisconsin Assembly, New York Senate, and the Nevada Senate.”
There's a census coming up, isn't there? This is a bigger deal than you might think.
Democrat Jeff Merkley has ousted Republican Gordon Smith from his U.S. Senate seat, The Oregonian projects.
Good news from the lower upper left.
OLYMPIA _ Trailing by more than 100,000 votes – and well behind in several counties he easily won four years ago – Republican Dino Rossi has conceded the race for governor.
Done. Chris is back. Whew.

Still pulling for Darcy and Peter and Al and some others. Glad, too, about I-1000 passing, and saddened by California's slip into the shadows of inequality.

But on balance? This is a good 'un. Maybe the best of my life.

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What's the difference between a pit bull...

…and Rahm Emanuel?

Not much. Good choice.

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…it was Tuesday in Iraq, too.

Three people from one family ( a police officer and his two sons) were injured by an adhesive bomb that was stuck to their car in the central Baghdad neighborhood of Karrada around 7:15 a.m.

A policeman was killed and three others were inured when gunmen opened fire on a police patrol in al Ghadeer neighborhood in east Baghdad around 7:30 a.m.

A member of the guards of the head of the property dispute committee was killed and seven people were injured (4 other guards and 3 civilians) by an adhesive bomb that was stuck to a four-wheel drive in the Karrada neighborhood in downtown Baghdad around 12 p.m.

Around 12 p.m. an adhesive bomb that was stuck to a civilian car detonated near Ibn al Haitham hospital in Karrada neighborhood in downtown Baghdad. No casualties reported. The car was damaged.

Around 12:15 p.m. a civilian was killed and five others were injured in al Sinaa Street in downtown Baghdad by an adhesive bomb that was stuck to a civilian car that belonged to a policeman.

Four civilians were inured and eight others were injured by a roadside bomb in al Qahira neighborhood in northeast Baghdad around 1 p.m.

Seven civilians were killed and 18 others were wounded by a bomb that was planted under a vendor's stand inside al Mashtal bus station in east Baghdad around 2 p.m.

Gunmen assassinated a Lieutenant Colonel working for the ministry of interior affairs inside his car on al Qanat Street in east Baghdad around 2:15 p.m.
Around 11 a.m. a roadside bomb blew up near one of the offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's party in the Nasr area in downtown Kirkuk. No casualties were reported.
A patrol of the Iraqi army found two unidentified bodies in al Sehaji area in west Mosul city. The bodies were shot in the head and the chest.
Iraqi police in Salahuddin province says that a civilian was killed and three others were injured when an American vehicle hit them while they were putting up an advertisement in Mkeshifah area; 15 miles south of Tikrit city. US military said that an accident occurred on Tuesday morning between a vehicle for the Coalition Forces and a civilian car carrying two Iraqi civilians in the Tikrit area. One Iraqi civilian died at the scene while the second died of his wounds when he was being treated.
There's a lot of talk now about priorities for the new administration. It should be noted in that discussion that ending the occupation of Iraq isn't in competition with fixing the economy, it's part of fixing the economy.

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From the "What he said..." file.

Joe Sudbay...
Good morning. And, I mean that. It is a good morning.
Last night was America's IQ test. The good news: We passed.

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There'll be dancing...

...dancing in the street.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Good on ya', America...

...and my apologies. Wasn't long ago I didn't think you had it in you. I'm happy to find myself living in a country that's better than I thought.

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Had to get the phone again...

Joe Biden this time.

If they can put this kind of effort into a vote they have every reason to believe they've already got (the same lists that tell them where I am should tell them I'm a perfect voter) in my yellow dog precinct in my safe district in my solid state, what's going on where the race is hot.

I'm more impressed than ever by the most impressive campaign I've ever seen.

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Just got a call from Barack…

…guess he hasn't checked out the blog today.

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Terence Kane at The Hill Pundit's Blog...
...Of course, it’s easy for me to make these predictions, because there are never any consequences for a pundit being wrong (just ask Bill Kristol).

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Damn straight.

There are more of us than there are of them
It's past time we acted like it, and it looks like this time we will.

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Busy tonight?

Since Neal asked, and others might be interested, there will be election night festivities at the perfect tavern tonight. Election returns and seditious folk music will be prominently featured. As always on a Tuesday evening, any and all pickers of anything acoustic welcome.

Don't know how late we'll go, but the liklihood is, well, not very. Tennish, maybe, unless we bribe the bartender. The big district Democratic bash at the Nile Country Club isn't far away, though, for those that want to carry on with a crowd.

If you can, if you want, we're at 19322 Richmond Beach Dr. N.W. in Shoreline. I'll be the guy in the Regime Change hoody.

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40 years of failure.

...from Nixon to Bush. Sidney Blumenthal on the Republican legacy...
In economics, supply-side panaceas and deregulation created the worst crisis since the Great Depression, requiring a conservative Republican administration to part-nationalize banks, something unimaginable under any Democratic administration. In foreign policy, neoconservatism led to the morass in Iraq and Afghanistan while undermining the western alliance. In social policy, the evangelical right battered science, the separation of church and state, and the right to privacy. Finally, the conservative principle of limited government has become a watchword for incompetence, cronyism, corruption, hypocrisy, and contempt for the rule of law.
It's not just time for a change, the change is just in time.

Hat tip to Gordon.

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Signed, sealed and delivered.

The Brilliant and Beautiful Bride and I trooped off to do our civic duty this morning and the polling place turnout was impressive. As a PCO, I've learned that the low level of election day activity at the polls reflects the large number of folks who've made the move to a mail ballot. There are a few ballot box holdouts like me, but I'm guessing that a good many people crowding the tables and filling the booths when we voted are brand spanking new participants in American democracy.

I'm guessing, too, that the voted a lot like I did. The Obama campaign has been beating the bushes hereabouts like we're an early reporting swing state or something. If that kind of work has gone into the upper left, and that work has been as productive as it seems (or as I imagine), this could be a phenomenal night.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Landslide... Dixville Notch.
McCain - 6
Obama - 15

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Duh headline of the day.

Palin costing McCain, poll suggests

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And now...


Saturday, November 01, 2008

A united Democratic government...

…landed Americans on the Moon.

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From the "Generalissimo Franco is still dead" file.

The Hotline
VP Dick Cheney today endorsed John McCain and Sarah Palin...
That's it? At the eleventh hour they roll out the guy who's hated by even more people than the number of people who hate the president who is hated by more people than any other president in history.

And we're not supposed to get cocky?

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Today's ten...

Joan Osborne - Brokedown Palace
Utah Phillips - Larimer Street
The Andrews Sisters - Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar
The Zombies - Time Of The Season
The Bottoms Up Blues Gang - Key To The Highway
Nanci Griffith & John Prine - The Speed Of The Sound Of Lonliness
David Gans - Down To Seeds And Stems
Peter, Paul & Mary - Right Field
The Lovin' Spoonful - Younger Generation
Judy Collins - Someday Soon

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"Why are we born?"

"We're born eventually to die, of course.
But what happens between the time we're
born and we die? We're born to live."

And man, did he.

Studs Terkel
1912 - 2008

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