Wednesday, December 31, 2008


AP - A record 151 U.S. forces died in Afghanistan in 2008, the deadliest year yet in a seven-year war that military officials say is likely to get even bloodier in 2009...
I'm as happy as anyone to see this last year pass, but optimism ain't easy.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Actually, no...

Paul Constant'a headline inquiry...
Remember When We Cared About John McCain's Genitals?
…hadn't crossed my mind until you asked.

Thanks for that.


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What? No religious test?

Secular Party Wins Landslide Vote in Bangladesh
The U.S. Constitution may have been the first explicit definition of government as a secular matter, and we've been strapping candidates to a cross (or crescent, or Mogen David, but certainly something) every since. Maybe someday we'll catch up with our Bangladeshi brethen.

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In the news…

AP - Gov. Rod Blagojevich's lawyer said Monday that a vague array of charges and evidence doesn't merit removing the governor from office, and he urged a House committee not to recommend impeachment.
In other news, dog bites man.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Did you know…

…that the Democrats in the State House have a blog? It could become an essential tool for following the upcoming session in Olympia, especially if the focus stays, as it seems to be now, more on information than marching orders.

Elsewhere, faithful commenter and pal 'o Upper Left Terry Parkurst has started blogging at Automatter. Terry's a longtime automotive journalist, a pro behind the wheel, the parts counter and the keyboard, with perspective of someone with a vested and informed interest in the health of the American automobile industry. That 'auto' matter to all of us. He's just getting started, so go offer some encouragement.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

And light one candle... find us together
With peace as the song in our hearts.

Don't let the light go out.

(And, yeah, early, I know. Work, ya' know?)

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Good question…

…from Goldy.
Surely there are tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars to save by trimming a couple percentage points from the cost of contracts with the state’s many vendors and contractors… so why aren’t these on the table? Why just the union contracts?

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And now...


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Light one candle...

...for all we believe in
That anger not tear us apart...

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Okay, then...

...a random ten.
Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan's Dream
Rooftop Singers - It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
Christine Kane - She Don't Like Roses
Gerry & The Pacemakers - Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying
Crosby, Stills & Nash - 49 Bye-Byes
The Duhks - Dance Hall Girls/Bozeman Boogie
Austin Lounge Lizards - Forty Years Old (And Livin' In My Mom's Garage)
Arlo Guthrie - Deportees (Train Wreck At Los Gatos)
Dr. John - Iko, Iko
The New Riders Of The Purple Sage - Ripple

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Friday, December 26, 2008

And light one candle...

...for those who are suffering
Pain we learned so long ago.

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From Ho, Ho, Ho... hi-ho, hi-ho, I'm off for another trip through the snow. The perfect tavern beckons, and I'm told there's been a significant thaw down that way (proximity to salt water helps quite a bit).

This makes about 13 straight days of nearly impassable roads in my neighborhood, and the snow's falling at a pretty fair clip here in the convergence zone, though some neighborhoods are getting rain.

Rain on a foot of snow. Urban flooding for the new year? Local municipalities have been stymied by the freeze. It'll be interesting to see how they handle the thaw. Anyway, time to light the candles (with these grey skies I can call it dark enough) and head for a bus stop.

If you're out there, take care.

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Me too.

John Morris, an associate from another online world
I'm a liberal. I believe in the rights of man. I believe it is the purpose of government to protect the people and to preserve our freedom. I believe in a cooperative society. I believe that "Am I my brother's keeper?" is a settled question and the answer is an unambiguous "yes!" I believe that taxes are the dues you pay for civilization. I believe we are all in it together.
Couldn't have said it better.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

One part self described sex kitten…

…(which is why, perhaps, she was the best Catwoman of 'em all), one part social activist, one part cultural treasure.

Eartha Kitt



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Light one candle...

...for the strength that we need
To never become our own foe...

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

But light one candle...

...for the wisdom to know
When the peacemaker's time is at hand.

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When life gives you lemons...

...chill lemonade (or whatever you've got).

Hey, the fridge was full.

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Xmas eve... Upper Left World Headquarters.

There's a house back there somewhere...(and the click drill applies.)

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From the Department of Redundancy Department.

The NYT...
Mr. Cheney was simply dishonest...
Pick a subject. Any subject.

Hat tip to Big Tent Democrat.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Light one candle...

...for the terrible sacrifice
Justice and freedom demand...

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From the "American Government 101" file.

Democracy Now, via Adam B...
AMY GOODMAN: We just were listening to Vice President Cheney. One of the remarkable things he said was, well, as you pointed out, echoing back to Nixon—if people have seen Frost/Nixon, we just had Ron Howard on—that issue of, if a president does it, it’s not illegal.

REP. JERROLD NADLER: Well, that’s the definition of a monarch. We rebelled against that notion in 1776. And, in fact, it is just completely either ignorant or malevolent. It’s the antithesis of a democratic country. It’s the antithesis of the rule of law. The whole point of the way they drafted the Constitution was that they didn’t want the president to be an elected monarch. A president, anyone in this country, must be subject to the rule of law and not above it. The people are sovereign, not the president. And someone who says that if the president does it, it’s legal, betrays the Constitution and betrays the entire goal of American government, which is to have rule by the people, not by a king.
0f course, Cheney could be both completely ignorant and malevolent.

At least malevolent, though.

Probably felonious, too.

And Nadler? Add him to the list of folks who'd make a fine junior Senator from New York.

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Sez who?

Victor Davis Hanson, via Kevin Drum...
I'm sure that the labor secretary nominee Hilda Solis is a bright and savvy politician. But a labor secretary is supposed to reflect some balance between labor and management, one that seeks to hammer out compromises in the best interests of the nation.
Really? Because according to an official history of the DOL, it "...was the direct product of a half-century campaign by organized labor for a 'Voice in the Cabinet.'"

No mention there of balance or compromise. No mention of management, at all. The Secretary of Labor's office was created to be that voice, a voice for working people, an advocate "to foster, promote and develop the welfare of working people, to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment," as the establishing act put it.

Management and capital have their own voices. In fact, they have choirs of voices. They don't need a share of ours.

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As I've said…

…I'm basically agnostic on the NY Senate appointment. I gotta say, though, if Dick Morris thinks Caroline Kennedy such a bad choice, I'm thinking maybe she could be a real good one, if only to keep the wankers occupied away from the White House for awhile.

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From the "No one could have predicted…" file.

Oliver Willis...
We win the White House and it’s like we don’t even need the Republicans around to make life difficult.
Never did. If Democrats didn't invent the circular firing squad, we've done our level best to perfect it.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Stimulate this.

Steve Benen
Nearly two years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers identified 122 levees across the country that were in "unacceptable" condition and in need of repair. To date, only 45 have been fixed.
There's plenty of work for Americans to do for America.

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Walkin' in a winter wonderland.

  • I coulda' called in snowbound, I suppose, but the perfect tavern's a neighborhood joint, and the neighbors need their beer and burgers, so I made the five mile treck over hill and dale to open the joint. Would have climbed aboard a bus if one had come by, but it didn't, so I didn't. What I did do was drag my camera along, so here's a little illustrated travelogue (you can, of course, click 'em bigger)...

    Public art. The addition of caps and scarves was both neighborly and timely...

Ronald Bog's usually home to a couple of kinds of geese and a few kinds of ducks...

Right now, though, it's crow country...

A bit of blue somewhere over the penninsula...

Beautiful downtown Richmond Beach...

The restaurant at the end of the universe...

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Steelworkers President Leo W. Gerard on "Toyota Republicans"
Clearly the allegiance of the 31 Republicans who opposed the loan to save GM and Chrysler is not with the United States of America…
Crystal clearly.

The essential un-Americanism of movement conservatism has never been so plainly displayed. They would destoy the nation in order to bust a union.

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Pennsylvania auto dealer Jim Jackson (who offers facts to back his quality claim)...
Perhaps Sen. Shelby isn’t really that blind. Maybe he realizes the quality shift to American. Maybe it’s the fact that his state of Alabama has given so much land to factories from Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes Benz that he is more concerned about their continued growth than he is about the people of our country.
Probably, even.

Hat tip to Stuart O'Neill.

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Light one candle...

...for the pain they endured
When their right to exist was denied.

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Fun facts.

Via Blue Texan...
...the last three 2-term presidents were Clinton, Reagan and Eisenhower. Clinton left with a 66% approval rating, Reagan, 63% and Eisenhower, 59%.
Pretty popular fellas. The next one? Not so much...

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Festival of lights... Upper Left World Headquarters. Porchlights...


You can click 'em bigger. And yep, it's still snowing here.

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Hag Sameach!

Light one candle for the Maccabee children
With thanks that their light didn't die...

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Michael Lind...
The most shocking thing about the alliance between the Southern states and America's friendly but earnest economic rivals to destroy America's most important industry is the fact that so few people find it shocking.
…and Rosenberg's right, too.
I mean, look, these people are traitors.
And, I'd point out save for the redundancy, Republicans.

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The UAW Made The Middle-Class...

…sez Trapper John, and makes the case.

I'm sold.

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And now...

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Veep v. Veep.

Outgoing on incoming...
"...if he wants to diminish the office of the vice president, that's obviously his call."
Well, no, Dick. The call goes to the Constitution.

But you've never been much for that "government of laws" stuff, have you?

Just a month 'til we're rid of America's best argument against impeachement.

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Bush stimulates international economy.

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- The shoe hurled at President George W. Bush has sent sales soaring at the Turkish maker as orders pour in from Iraq, the U.S. and Iran.

The brown, thick-soled “Model 271” may soon be renamed “The Bush Shoe” or “Bye-Bye Bush,” Ramazan Baydan, who owns the Istanbul-based producer Baydan Ayakkabicilik San. & Tic., said in a telephone interview today.


Baydan has received orders for 300,000 pairs of the shoes since the attack, more than four times the number his company sold each year since the model was introduced in 1999.
The company plans to employ 100 more staff to meet demand, he said.
Maybe somebody should throw a Chevy at him...

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

From the "Wouldn't be prudent" file.

Far be it from me to bowdlerize The General. Just go see.

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From the "God bless us, everyone." file.

The Minstrel Boy
God Bless Jerry Brown, his opposition before the State Supreme Court will be Kenneth Starr.
All my life's a circle...

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The weather outside is frightenin'...

...but there's no stopping the random ten.
Jimmy Buffett - Come Monday
Nancy Griffith & Guy Clark - Do-Re-Mi
Lyle Lovett - The Truck Song
Dwight Yoakum - Honky Tonk Man
The Dubliners - Molly Malone
Jackson Browne - These Days
Townes Van Zandt - Tecumseh Valley
Chuck Berry - Roll Over Beethoven
Phil Ochs - Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends
NRBQ- It's A Wild Weekend

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Friday, December 19, 2008

A flip-flop I can believe in.

(CBS/AP) The California attorney general has changed his position on the state's new same-sex marriage ban and is now urging the state Supreme Court to void Proposition 8.

Jerry Brown filed a brief Friday saying the measure that amended the California Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman is unconstitutional. He says it deprives gay couples of a fundamental right.

After California voters passed Proposition 8 on Nov. 4, Brown said he would fight to uphold the initiative in his role as attorney general, even though he personally voted against it.
Brown's initial response was reminiscent of the days when, as Governor, he was obliged to implement Proposition 13, which he had likewise opposed. I've got to believe that for Jerry Brown to step out in this instance and attempt to thwart the ballot on constitutional grounds, he'd have to believe that he'd developed a clear and comprehensible case for presentation both to the courts, who would decide its fate, and to the public, which will decide his.

Good to see him on the side of justice and equality. I know that's where he wants to be.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

This, on the other hand…

…I'm 100% behind...
Hilda Solis to Labor
…because she's been 100% behind these folks.
Representative Solis supported the interests of the AFL-CIO 100 percent in 2007.

Representative Solis supported the interests of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees 100 percent in 2007.

Representative Solis supported the interests of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Int 100 percent in 2007.

Representative Solis supported the interests of the Service Employees International Union 100 percent in 2007.

Representative Solis supported the interests of the United Auto Workers 100 percent in 2007.

In 2007 United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers rated politicians in selected states. They gave Representative Solis a rating of 100.

In 2007 International Brotherhood of Boilermakers gave Representative Solis a grade of 100.

In 2007 Utility Workers Union of America gave Representative Solis a grade of 100.
Just imagine, a Secretary of Labor who's a Secretary for Labor.

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He's got a secret.

The President-elect...
I think it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans.
See, I've been paying attention, and I didn't know that. I figure that a "fierce advocate for equality" would support giving my daughter and her partner recognition, protections, entitlements and benefits equal to those that my other daughter and her husband enjoy. Seems like a pretty minimal standard for "fierce" advocacy. It's called "marriage."

That's one of the reasons, I suppose, that the selection of Rev. Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation hasn't spiked my outrage as high as some other observers. Yes, I know, Obama came out against Prop. H8, and Warren was an advocate - a fierce advocate, you might say - for it, but at a base level, they both agree that one of my daughters should not be allowed to marry the person she loves, and should, as a result, be penalized for her affections. In fact, Warren actually invoked Obama's public opposition to marriage equality when he was stumping for H8.

Barack Obama is, though, a generally reliable ally on most issues involving the civil rights of GLBT Americans. Most though, isn't all, and fierce? That pretty much calls for all.

As for the Warren issue, like John Cole, I'll save my outrage for policy matters. Dump Don't Ask, Don't Tell in favor of enlistment equality, and fight for a repeal of DOMA and I can get over Rick Warren pretty quickly.

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In which I agree with Dick Cheney…

…sort of. I mean, he's not entirely wrong here...
“In my mind, the foremost obligation we had from a moral or an ethical standpoint was to the oath of office we took when we were sworn in, on January 20 of 2001, to protect and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. And that’s what we’ve done,” he said.
Upholding the oath of office is no doubt the foremost obligation of an elected official. It's hard to do, though, when you don't know what's in it. Again, the oracle...
Article II, Section 1.

...Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Nothing about enemies in there, regardless of origin, but there's a pretty clear target for protection. Not American territory, or property, or even lives. They're there to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

And on that score?

Fail. Major Fail.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Via Aravosis

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What should happen to the Iraqi shoe-tosser?


As an American, I was brought up to believe that insulting leaders, foreign and domestic, is a birthright, not a felony.

Free Muntadhar al-Zeidi.

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Is Caroline qualified?

Let's ask the oracle...
Article I, Section 3.

...No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen.
Check, check and triple check.

So why all the blogospheric dissent? Some, it seems, are distressed that Ms. Kennedy is, as Markos complains, dispensing with the "...pesky voters by simply ringing up the governor," a process Kevin Drum bemoans as "...just a little too Habsburgian…" Jane Hamsher, who staked out her spot at the front of the anti-Kennedy line early, opines that "It appears Ms. Kennedy thinks that US Senate seats are something to lobbied for amongst political elites when one decides one wants them."

Gubernatorial appointment may or may not be the best way to fill temporary Senate vacancies, but in the state of New York, they're apparently the law. "Ringing up the governor," and making an impression on people who are influential with the governor (which would seem to make them definitive "political elites") are exactly the things the next Senator must do. Fear not for democracy. In less than two years, that Senator, whoever it may be, must face the voters in order to continue in office. Granted, it may not be ideally egalitarian, but there it is. It's the law.

Chris Bowers aptly sums up the heart of the remaining anti arguments - that Kennedy lacks the experience and qualifications for the office…
Frankly, I consider [Kennedy] to be undeserving of the seat, given that she has never won an election and that basically her only qualification would be her family name.
Her electoral experience, it seems, speaks to political concerns (can she beat Rudy?) rather than qualifications. It's crystal gazing at best, assuming facts not in evidence both to her abilities and her ambitions. It's not difficult to imagine more than a couple scenarios that might make a two year caretaker term attractive to Caroline Kennedy, and potentially helpful to a possible successor.

As to her electoral prospects, she is blessed with high favorability among New York voters, a web of contacts both inherited and built and access to a formidable family fundraising operation. It's true that a campaign would place her in a personal spotlight she's not typically sought, but she's hardly been a recluse. She's done tours and television appearances for her books on the Constitution and civil liberties and in recent years has become the go-to Kennedy for appearances at state funerals and such.

Bowers' jab about her qualifications being limited to her surname ignores a career that, if not in the public spotlight, has consistently been in the public interest. The primary interests of that career - funding for public education, protection of civil liberties and support for the arts - are shared, I hope, by Democrats generally. Her success in advancing those interests as a private citizen should count for something, then, when considering qualifications for public service. Not knowing what Caroline Kennedy's been up to for the last few decades isn't the same as knowing she hasn't been up to anything.

The remaining anti argument centers around the dynastic aspects of having yet another Senator Kennedy. While its true that familial background is an insufficient qualification for office, there's a reasonable cast to be made that it is a relevant one. There have been political families at every level of government throughout our history. Some cases may have been matters of rank nepotism, but it seems inarguable that few can better know the risks, rigors and rewards of a political life than members of political families (and perhaps no political family knows them better than the Kennedys.) It's one of the reasons another leading prospect for the appointment is named Cuomo.

I don't have a lot of skin in the New York Senate selection. I'd like a Democrat who will vote for the leadership package and support the new President. Andy Cuomo would likely do fine, as would Caroline Kennedy and any number of people of a lower national profile. The Governor has an important choice to make among fine choices. I wish him wisdom and I wish him well.

Is Caroline Kennedy entitled to a seat in the US Senate by birthright? No, of course not. Should her heritage be an automatic disqualification, though? No, again.

Does, on the other hand, this woman who has served our Party, our nation and her state and community with quiet dignity for decades deserve the degree of general (and generally ignorant) contempt pouring forth from so many quarters?

Absolutely not.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fun facts.

RJ Eskow does the math, via Steve M....
Mitch McConnell's Kentucky took in $1.45 from the Feds for every dollar it paid in taxes. That's a 45 cent free ride. Bob Corker's Tennessee received at 30-cent Federal giveaway. And Richard Shelby's Alabama extracted a whopping 71-cent subsidy from Northern taxpayers.

What about Michigan? They lost 31 cents for every dollar they paid....
Makes you wonder how many Michigan dollars culled from UAW paychecks ended up in the bribes incentive packages used to lure those Japanes factories to Dixie...

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From the "The more things change…" file.

Two of my favorite bloggers, Nick Beaudrot and Neil (the Ethical Werewolf) Sinhababu, have set up shop at Donkeylicious, which you should be reading regularly.

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The Sun god is a great god...

...Ra! Ra! Ra!

Despite icy roads and snowy forecasts, I erected the traditional fertility symbol heralding the imminent return of the solar diety... which the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left added a pile of brightly wrapped offerings. She also snagged a nifty new receptacle I can use to collect personal tributes as well...

New candles for the menorrah and I'll be set for the season.

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From the "Sez who?" file.

NBC Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker on the President=elect...
"Our job is to hold him to account."
So, whose job is it to report the news, then?

I always thought the accountability piece belonged to the voters.

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For shame...

Via Matt Yglesias...

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For fun...

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Looks like Jesse, Jr.'s gonna be OK. information appears to support Jackson's claim that he was not involved in a scheme to buy a U.S. Senate seat.

ABC7 has learned that since late last summer, the congressman has worked with federal prosecutors, informing on an alleged Blagojevich administration scheme two and half years earlier.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

What sucks more than snow?


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Sunday, December 14, 2008



Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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'Twas a time...

...when snow on a Sunday was a welcome diversion, a chance to light a fire, sip a toddy, maybe get in a bit of a snuggle.

Of course, 'twas a time I didn't have to get to work on Sunday.

Snow sucks.

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And now...


Saturday, December 13, 2008


Thers is on a roll...
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell can come across as a real dick sometimes, especially when he opens his mouth.

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From the "Everything you know is wrong." file.

I'm going to write my next rent check a bit more cheerfully. Grace Wong, Wharton School of Business...
…Controlling for demographics and income, homeowners do not report higher levels of well-being by any measure in this data set. In fact, they report to be less healthy, derive less joy from love and relationships, spend less time with friends and on active leisure, and also experience less positive affect during time spent with friends. Their time use patterns reveal little evidence of them being "better citizens"…
Hat tip to Matt Yglesias.

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Quote of the day.

"I don't know what Sen. Vitter has against GM or the United Auto Workers or the entire domestic auto industry; whatever it is, whatever he thinks we've done, it's time for him to forgive us, just like Sen. Vitter has asked the citizens of Louisiana to forgive him."

Morgan Johnson, president of UAW Local 2166, Shreveport, LA
I don't know either, except that Vitter shares the the general Republican contempt for American workers, sex workers excepted, apparently, in his case.

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Something old...

...and some stuff even older. Another random ten...
The Weavers - Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
Lyle Lovett - The Truck Song
The Persuasions - Sugaree
Ian & Sylvia - Early Morning Rain
Grateful Dead - Brokedown Palace
Gerry & The Pacemakers - Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying
The Flying Burrito Brothers - Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
Ramblin' Jack Elliott - 1913 Massacre
Jim Kweskin - Ukelele Lady
Willie Nelson - I Gotta Get Drunk

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When you put it that way…

…you're right…erm…correct. Thers...
Glenn Beck is paid, and paid well, to share his thoughts. This tells us almost everything we need to know about why America is swirling 'round the porcelain abyss.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Worth repeating.

Charles Pierce...
The fiction that Watergate was a "national trauma" to be healed, and not a series of crimes for which specific people should be punished, lead directly to the inability of Congress to do its duty in the Iran-Contra scandal and, therefore, to the abdication of constitutional oversight that, since 2001, has ruined so much of what the country once stood for.
It didn't start with Bush.

It isn't over yet.

We have a lot to celebrate. We have even more to do before we the people truly have our country back.

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From the "Cunning plan" file.

Sir Charles seconds William Greider's call for cloture at 55...
Let's achieve post-partisan politics by making the partisans on the other side utterly irrelevant to the debate.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

From the "Willing accomplice" file.

After running RNC Chair Mike Duncan's efforts to smear President=elect Obama with an imaginary link to Blago at the top of a post, the Hotline Blog reports the 'known knowns' and wonders...
...Obama did note today that he hadn't had any conversations about his successor with Blagojevich, and Obama said that he's "absolutely certain" his team was not engaged in any deal-making for his seat. He also pledged to release details of any meetings or conversations between his staff and Blagojevich.

What more exactly does Duncan want?
To get his smear at the top of as many blog posts and front pages as possible, maybe?

Just guessin'...

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One's too many…

…but fewer is better, just the same.
The number of executions in U.S. prisons hit a 14-year-low in 2008, continuing a downward trend and coinciding with a drop in juries handing out death sentences, according to a year-end report.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Solidarity for…

...well, for five days was all it took, as it turns out.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Laid-off workers at a Chicago window factory ended a five-day sit-in after banks agreed to lend the failed company $1.75 million for outstanding wages and benefits, union officials said Wednesday.


Workers approved the deal at a meeting Wednesday night. Union official Carl Rosen said the average worker will receive about $6,000 under the package.

But he added: "This is about more than just money. It's about what can be achieved when workers organize and stand up for justice."

When the union's inspiration
Thru' the worker's blood shall run
There can be no power greater
Anywhere beneath the sun
But what force on earth is weaker
Than the feeble strength of one
The union makes us strong!

Well done, brothers and sisters.

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…taking him at his word, who tried to buy a Senate seat for Jesse, Jr.?

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From the "Winning hearts and minds" file.

U.S. forces mistakenly kill 6 Afghan policemen
It's not just how many soldiers, it's how they soldier.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

In the news…

Larry Craig's still guilty
In other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

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Quote of the day.

Via Darryl
“An Obama job approval rating of 79 percent — that’s the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush administration was a national disaster.”

Bill Schneider, CNN senior political analyst
Sheesh. I appear to be becoming mainstream in my autumnal years.

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The bright spot…

…in the Blagojevich mess is that the next President of the United States comes across as encouragingly incorruptible (pre-bowdlerized by The Politico)...

[Blagojevich] also appears to think little of the president-elect, whom he calls a "motherf***er" at one point.

“F**k him,” Blagojevich says of Obama during a lengthy call with top aides and his wife recorded on November 10th, “For nothing? F**k him.”

In another section of the complaint, Blagojevich expresses exasperation that Obama and his team aren't willing to offer him an inducement in exchange for appointing an aide, apparently Valerie Jarrett, to the Senate.

Blagojevich "said he knows that the President-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but 'they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. F**k them,'" says the complaint.
I'm sure Barry O' appreciates the endorsement.

Hat tip to Joe Sudbay.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

From the "Slightly bowdlerized" file.

Most people who believe in god are secure enough with that to not fear the atheist who doesn't. I'm sure the feeling is mutual. But no one in their right mind REALLY GIVES A SH*T ABOUT IT.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

From the "No one could have predicted…" file.

A "senior Western policy analyst," quoted by Jerome Starkey...
"Raiding people's houses and snatching people away creates a very negative impression in the communities."
Who'da thunk?

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And now...


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cabinet watch.

It's General Eric Shinseki (US Army, retired) for Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

I wasn't crazy about his decision to eliminate the Rangers' franchise on black berets and issue them to everybody, but he was a Ranger himself, and I wasn't, so I'll yield the point to his superior standing. I suppose the morale standards of today's Army require allowing every company clerk needs to dress up like a commando in camo and beret.

What Shinseki is best known for, of course, is challenging Donald Rumsfeld on the force requirements for the occupation of Iraq and, in essence, getting fired for being right. Obama has, in fact, cited Shinseki's prescience on troop requirements as a reason for this appointment.

I have to admit, while it may speak well to his overall judgment and realism, that's not a particularly strong - and certainly not Shinseki's strongest- credential for the VA post. While that might be a great reason to reinstate him as Army Chief of Staff, or send him back to run CENTCOM for awhile, it doesn't have much to do with recognizing and meeting the needs of veterans.

He does have the insight gained as a veteran of several wars himself, including a ground combat command in Vietnam. He will be, you might say, not just the Secretary, but a customer. He was once himself a young soldier who left a part of his body on the battlefield. Another point in his favor is that there's little the VA bureaucrats can throw at him that he hasn't long since encountered and countered on his way to four stars - a path that calls for a blending of management and political skill that is a close analog to the requirements for success as a Cabinet Secretary.

And there's this from John Aravosis…
Obama is announcing the choice of Shinseki, a Japanese-American, as VA secretary, tomorrow, Sunday, December 7. Pearl Harbor day.
The times? They've changed.

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Is it just me?

Or is there something fundamentally wrong with this?
Stocks Rally Sharply Despite Heavy Losses of Jobs
If you think the system is working, ask someone who isn't.

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Once again...

...a random ten.
Greg Trooper - Muhammad Ali (The Meaning Of Christmas)
Ramsay Midwood = Rattlesnake/Rollin' (In My Sweet Baby's Arms)
Little Feat - Willin'
Frog Holler - Stray
Dixie Chicks - I Hope
Joan Baez - Long Black Veil
Ian & Sylvia - The Circle Game
Tom Paxton - Talkin' Vietnam Potluck Blues
Heather Myles - Sweet Little Dangerous
Loudon Wainwright III - Dead Skunk

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

If Krugman's scared…

I've been ruminating over economic prospects for next year, and I'm getting scared.
…brother, I'm scared.

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Not precisely "family-friendly," but…

...The Minstrel Boy's got a terrific war (of a sort) story to tell.

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The times, they are a' changing…

Bank of America is particularly concerned about surface mining conducted through mountain top removal in locations such as central Appalachia. We therefore will phase out financing of companies whose predominant method of extracting coal is through mountain top removal. While we acknowledge that surface mining is economically efficient and creates jobs, it can be conducted in a way that minimizes environmental impacts in certain geographies.

The link is to a .pdf file. The emphasis is mine.

That's about as impressive a display of corporate citizenship as I can recall since, well, as I can recall at all, I suppose.

Nice to see a company that understands that its shareholders gain nothing from a poisoned planet.

Hat tip to rperks.

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"And before I'd be a slave...

...I' ll be buried in a my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free …"




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Big Tent Democrat digs into the archives and quotes himself…
Politics is not a battle for the middle. It is a battle for defining the terms of the political debate. It is a battle to be able to say what is the middle.
…and appends...
The Democratic agenda is the middle. We won.

Speaking for me only.
All true, except that last bit.

On this, at least, he speaks for me, too.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Good news...

Asked if Obama's support for the Employee Free Choice Act remained as strong as his public proclamations suggested on the campaign trail, transition spokesman Dan Pfeiffer responded, succinctly, "Yes."
Seen any hot rumors for Secretary of Labor?

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…but what does it mean? Chris Bowers
The last ten years has witnessed a marked rise in the use of a different left and center-left ideological term in America: progressive. This rise has been so pronounced and widespread that "progressive" is now the most favorably viewed ideological term in America, surpassing both "moderate" and "conservative."
"Moderate" (another weasel word) Republicans often call themselves "progressive." Mainstream liberals often call themselves "progressive." Democratic Socialists and others who used to call themselves "radical" now cling to "progressive."

No wonder it's popular.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Chambliss Wins; 60 Eludes Dems
Nice try, Jim.

Sorry, Max.

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From the "No Shinola, Sherlock" file.

Having to relive the Great Depression because wingnut ideologues refuse to acknowledge they were and are wrong is frustrating.
Ain't it, though.

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The Road to 2010.

Martinez is out
Republican Sen.Mel Martinez, the nation's first Cuban-American senator and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, announced today that he will not seek reelection in 2010.
Murkowski's in, and is telling Palin to stay out, saying...
“If she wants to be president, I don’t think the way to the presidency is a short stop in the United States Senate.”
Maybe not, Lisa, but, it could happen. In fact, it has. Lately.

And a Murkowksi/Palin primary could be so much fun...

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Monday, December 01, 2008


Via David Neiwert

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