Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year wish…

…for all y'all, from Stephen Foster and Upper Left.

Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh hard times come again no more.
Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.
While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.
Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.
No matter how good this year has or hasn't been, I hope you find the next one better.

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One of these things…

…is not like the other. Goldy...
Now that the race for King County Executive is long over, it’s interesting to compare this:
[Susan] Hutchison said she solved a significant budget shortfall as chairwoman of the Seattle Symphony board of directors. “I solve problems and I fix things,” she said, “and King County needs a fix.”
With this:
The Seattle Symphony, already beset by immense challenges, including a $4 million debt and vacancies in its two top positions, still has not reached a new contract agreement with its musicians union and could potentially face a musicians strike.
She lied. It figures. She's a Republican, even if she lied about that, too.

Goldy's right, though. She got a free pass on that lie throughout the campaign. Nice as it would be to think we've seen the last of Ms. Hutchison politically, it would be foolhardy. Never too early to stock up the oppo file.

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From the "Eye for an eye" file.

WIIIAI plots retaliation...
...let’s send Joe Lieberman to Yemen and have him set his leg on fire.
Sounds fair.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Seems to me…

…that taking a vacation in Hawaii is a lot more typically American than owning a play ranch in Texas.

Just sayin'...

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The Iron Hand of Holland.

Via Dan Savage...
(Queen) Beatrix's government is introducing gay marriage to her possessions in the Caribbean—the islands of Sint Eustatius, Saba, Sint Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire. Thanks, Dutch colonial oppressors!

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Yes, as a matter of fact…

…we are better than they are. Steve Benen...
It's rare to get such a perfect apples-to-apples comparison. Reid and Abdulmutallab used the same chemical, the same target, the same intended consequence, in same month of the year, with the same twisted ideology. Reid's attempt happened when Bush was away from the White House; Abdulmutallab's attempt happened when Obama was away from the White House.

Any fair evaluation makes clear that the Obama team's response was faster, more thorough, and offered more depth.
Sadly, fair evaluations are scant. As Steve points out elsewhere...
By all appearances, it doesn't matter if the Republican attacks are baseless and ridiculous. It doesn't matter if Republican national security policies failed. It doesn't matter that Republicans are more anxious to denounce the president than they are to denounce terrorism.

What matters now is what mattered before -- whether GOP voices can create and exploit just enough misguided panic and fear to benefit politically. If they can shout "soft on terror" often enough, and the media overlooks all available evidence, maybe the public won't notice how ridiculous the Republican lies really are.
Republicans lie, loudly and incessantly. It's all they have left, but they've become very good at it.

And another reason that, like I always say sometimes…

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Duh headline of the day.

From the PI's Strange Bedfellows
Unemployed to 2009: Good riddance

Goes for more than a few of us employed, too, I'd imagine. Goes for me, anyway.

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Monday, December 28, 2009


Hat tip to Gordon.

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Via Political Wire...
Nate Silver notes that from October 1999 through September 2009 there has been one terrorist incident per 16,553,385 airplane departures.

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Good question...

…from Paul Krugman...
What, if anything, does "moving to the center" mean?
I'm not sure myself, but it's probably not what you think, no matter who you are.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's time for...

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Worth repeating.

James Joyner...
We’re simply going to make people miserable for no apparent reason. There have been precisely three attempts over the last eight years to commit acts of terrorism aboard commercial aircraft. All of them clownishly inept and easily thwarted by the passengers. How many tens of thousands of flights have been incident free? And, yet, we’re going to make hundreds of thousands of people endure transcontinental flights without reading materials or the ability to use the restroom?
As much as I once loved to fly, if you can't conveniently and affordably get there by car, bus, train or boat, I can't imagine going there anymore, which means I'll probably never go to some places I'd really like to go, places that would really like people like me to come.

Guess I'll scratch the return trips to Ireland and Vietnam from the bucket list. The crazy people have won.

Hat tip to John Cole.

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From the "Me too" file.

Atrios thinks deeply…
People who disagree with me are ill-informed and have their views clouded by an unrealistic ideological agenda, while I am a clear-minded pragmatist.
Me too, even when I disagree with him.

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In other news…

…a crazy guy tried to do something crazy, which is making Republican Congresscritters say crazy things.

Crazy, man, crazy.

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When I really want random...

...the big directory on the hard drive never fails. Ten for today...
Elvis Presley - Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
Odetta - Joshua
Rosanne Cash - I Count The Tears
Elvis Costello - Kinder Murder
Jimmy Bryant & Speedy West - Wild Card
Grey DeLisle - Bohemian Rhapsody
Eric Sardinas - Wicked Ways
The Clarks - Let It Go
Roger Miller - The Moon Is High (And So Am I)
Each Other's Legend - Pray What You Need

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Season's greetings...

...or Merry Christmas, if you prefer. It's a pretty secular affair here at Upper Left World Headquarters, given that I'm probably the most religious person around here and I'm neither all that religious nor a Christian. I'm an American, though, and Christmas is a powerful cultural virus in this country. We're all big fans of the cookies, lights and music. Besides, these guys showing up gave me all the reason for the season I could possibly need...

Hope you found your own reasons for a bit of joy.

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I suppose it was inevitable...

The Top 10 Top 10 Lists Of 2009
Can't top that.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009


Harry Reid...
It is about people. It’s about life and death in America. It’s a question of morality, of right and wrong. It’s about human suffering. And given the chance to relieve this suffering, we must take it.

Matt Yglesias...
It’s fine not to be satisfied with this legislation, but it’s perverse not to be happy about it.

I am a leftist too...And I am very happy that the Senate has passed a health care bill.

You want Obama to fail? Reject health care reform. You want the Democrats to lose a ton of seats in 2010? Reject health care reform. You want to stop insurance companies from denying you coverage due to pre-existing conditions, or dropping your coverage once you get sick? Well, even the sucky Senate bill does that.

Jonathan Chait...
What has emerged from that machinery is not merely “better than nothing” or “a good start.” It is the most significant American legislative triumph in at least four decades. Why can so few people see that?

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Good advice...

...for Hollywood Jane from driftglass.
...somebody really needs to remind Hamsher that this sort of collaborating-with-thugs-for-political-convenience bullshit is exactly how the Southern Strategy started.
The way to beat the Republican right isn't to team up and act just like them.

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From the "Reports of our death..." file.

More good news for President McCain...
CNN Poll: More Americans think Democratic policies better than Republican

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hi Ho, Ho, Ho...'s time to end the computer-fu wars for now and head off to work. When my shift's over I'll have two consecutive days off for the first time in about two years, which may account for the extra measure of holiday spirit I've been feeling lately.

More likely, though, the holidays seem brighter because I'm so damn broke this year. Having completely opted out of the commercial side of the season, I'm actually enjoying myself more than I have in years. I don't recommend being broke, particularly, but if you're a silver lining seeker, there seems to be one there.

I'll check in later if somebody actually makes some news or something.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Everything scans clean...

...but the day's been dominated by some sort of computer-fu. I'm up and running on the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left's laptop, but I'm really not a crammed together keyboard and touch pad kinda' guy.

Off in a bit for the weekly jam at the perfect tavern (The Cabin in Richmond Beach - look it up. My URL stash is in the other machine.) We'll try to tackle some holiday sing alongs if anyone can remember the second verse to anything. If you can help us out, drop by and sing along!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Words to live by…

…from Jerry Lee Lewis.
I've always showed up. If I got paid.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's time for...

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A Blogging Ethical Conundrum.

Over at Blue Gal, Fran's seeking guidance on whether it's off limits to point out that Newt Gingrich's latest wife is the staffer who was " Newt blow jobs when he was married to someone else, at exactly the time he was leading the charge to impeach Clinton for exactly the same thing."

Definitely. I, for instance, would never think of using this typically family-friendly space to point out that Mrs. Gingrich was the same staffer who was giving Newt blow jobs while he was married to someone else, at exactly the same time he was leading the charge to impeach Clinton for exactly the same thing, even knowing that she, in fact, was.

Perish the thought. I mean, think of The Children©.

Of course, standards, like mileage, vary.

Hope this helps.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

One of these things…

…is not like the other. McClatchy...
WASHINGTON — On health care, the war in Afghanistan, civil liberties and the economy, President Barack Obama is meeting growing resistance from the very group that propelled his election last year: liberal Democrats.
Public Policy Polling...
Our new poll suggests that liberal unhappiness with Barack Obama is still largely anecdotal and not very widespread. His approval rating with liberal Democrats is 95%, with only 3% disapproving of him.
And does anyone really believe there are enough liberal Democrats in America to propel anyone to victory? I wish there were, but if I got that wish we'd all be busy bitching about President Kucinich's inability to get single payer through the Senate, or impeaching President Edwards for being a cad, or wondering what the hell President Gravel was talking about.

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My peeps!

Results last month from the 32nd Legislative District for Initiative 1033 (Tim Eyeman's latest "break the government by making the government broke" effort") and Referendum 71 ("everything but marriage" for gay and lesbian folks)…

Approve 12434
Reject 27848


Approve 28622
Reject 14450
Good for us!

(Your peeps here (.pdf))

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Random Ten.

Happy holiday edition...
Margo Sylvia & The Tune Weavers - What Are You Doing New Years Eve?
Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
Rickie Lee Jones - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
The Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick
Les Brown & His Band Of Renown - The Nutcracker Suite
Aretha Franklin - Winter Wonderland
B.B. King - Bringing In A Brand New Year
Jimmy Buffett - Merry Christmas, Alabama
Stew - I Have It All This Christmas
Bobby Helm - Jingle Bell Rock
The music's always been my favorite part of the season.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

A good Republican?

That would be an ex-Republican. Via Think Progress...
Rep. Jim Campbell, a veteran Republican state legislator in Maine, has announced he’s leaving the party over its inability to solve his state’s and the nation’s broken health care system. In a statement, Campbell expresses frustration with the party, saying he wants to “send a message” to Republicans in Washington to stop blocking health care reform for “partisan gain.”
The bells are tolling back home. Are those women from Maine listening?

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Dear Manu Raju…

If your lede is "Sen. John McCain on Friday denounced…", you're writing the wrong story.


Upper Left

(P.S. - And since when is the ten minute mark of a ten minute speech "the middle"?

Only in the world where John McCain and Joe Lieberman are a "moderates," I suppose.

You know, the world of Politico.)

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

A little to the left…

Figures, right?

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (44%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (54%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?

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Some of the things I hate…

…about what they're doing to my Army, culled from an important piece by William Astore.
Suicides have hit record highs in the Army.

Cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression, having reached an alarming 300,000 in 2008, continue to escalate.

Traumatic brain injuries from IEDs and other explosive shocks may already exceed 300,000.

Divorce rates among active duty troops continue to climb.

An epidemic of domestic violence and crime has been linked to returning veterans and to the difficulty of readjusting to "normal" life.
If that's not enough, Astore, a retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel, also looks at declining enlistment standards and the decimation of our corps of commissioned and non-commissioned officers.

They broke my Army, and all the magnetic ribbons in the world can't patch it up.

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Like me, for instance.

Paul Krugman...
By all means criticize the administration. But don't take it out on the tens of millions of Americans who will have health insurance if this bill passes, but will be out of luck -- and, in some cases, dead -- if it doesn't.

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Oh, please.

John Aravosis...
Damn, Howard Dean seems to have more backbone that the White House and the Congress combined.
Backbone? What does Dean's attention grabbing hissy fit have to do with backbone? Howard Dean has absolutely no skin in this game at all. He isn't responsible to any constituency and he's totally insulated from the effects of any health care plan whatsoever by his own insurance, personal wealth and membership in an elite ring of "professional courtesy." He's free to completely ignore the plight of the millions who will be denied insurance or lose their insurance, some of whom will suffer early and painful deaths as a result, without the reforms that exist even under the Senate plan as it stands before possible (I'd argue for probable) improvements in conference. It doesn't take backbone to toss bombs out the hatch of a secure bunker.

John Cole gets it...
…you know who will have health insurance even if this bill fails: Howard Dean, Katrina van den Huevel, Ed Schultz, and 99% of the people burning up twitter and memeorandum right now.
And Kos, Hamsher and Arovosis, too.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Democratic firebrand…"

…Maria Cantwell!

Newsweek says so. Not bad for my favorite uber-wonk.

And I'm all over reinstating Glass-Steagall. Fire 'em up, Maria!

Hat tip to Howie.

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From the "Me too" file.

Ezra Klein...
...if I could construct a system in which insurers spent 90 percent of every premium dollar on medical care, never discriminated against another sick applicant, began exerting real pressure for providers to bring down costs, vastly simplified their billing systems, made it easier to compare plans and access consumer ratings, and generally worked more like companies in a competitive market rather than companies in a non-functional market, I would take that deal. And if you told me that the price of that deal was that insurers would move from being the 86th most profitable industry to being the 53rd most profitable industry, I would still take that deal.
Me too.

I'm a little astonished at the number of people who seem to have grown faint upon learning that the insurance industry will be making a lot of money in the future. They're making a lot of money now, folks, which is a principle reason why, from the very beginning of this debate, there's been no virtually no discussion of alternatives that would replace, or even significantly displace, the insurance industry.

We'll get real health care reform someday, if we keep up the fight. Meanwhile, even the inadequate health insurance regulation in the Senate bill, which can still be strengthened in conference, is a meaningful step forward for millions of Americans.

A step forward. As in progress.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And another thing…

…about that Senate Bill. When someone tells you it must be killed, as yourself whether they are fully insured. I'm not, and it sure looks better than nothing to me. Not enough, but no one's offering enough this round. It’s step along the way, thought, at least and it doesn't look so bad from down here at the bottom of the health care food chain.

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Chart of the day.

Via Nate Silver...

Whatever hits the President's desk after conference will almost certainly be better than the Senate Bill, and the Senate Bill will save millions of Americans thousands of dollars on health insurance costs, along with an array of other protections and benefits.

It's hard come up with a response to those who would deny any progress at all on the health care front because it's insufficient progress and keep the family friendly tone I try, for the most part, to maintain here. Calling them "progressive," though, seems to be the very essence of Orwellian doublespeak.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Good question…

…from John Cole.
Now that Lieberman clinched the Monday morning headlines and will get the most attention on Morning Joe, what will drama queens John McCain and Ben Nelson do to get back in the news?
I dunno, but I'm sure they'll find a way, as will any number of Senators on the other side of the health care issue. Senators are like that. Even the most junior minority backbencher in the US Senate is, by virtue of the position itself, an important and powerful person, with the capacity to make news and a sense of entitlement to a certain amount of deference and attention. The afore-mentioned are simply exemplars of the unpleasant reality that the most effective way to fulfill that expectation of attention is to position yourself on the extreme side of an issue, though most will disguise that extremism under the cloak of moderation.

There's nothing moderate, of course, about the threat to join a Republican filibuster of an important Democratic policy initiative. To do so is to make common cause with the extremist obstructionists of the Republican Party, which is unified its desire to damage Democrats politically regardless of the costs or consequences for America or Americans. Questions of rational governance are irrelevant to a party whose political strategy calls for the failure of government as a first principle. No moderates there, and nothing moderate about helping them to implement that strategy.

The other, our, side is hardly silent, of course, but the voices we hear the most are from "mavericks" like Russ Feingold or non-Democrats like the independent socialist Bernie Sanders. If a Democratic Senator wants to make the papers, the suggestion that they might vote against final passage of health insurance reform that doesn't include a public option. There's a difference, of course, since they don't, as a rule, threaten to actually join a Republican filibuster, but the threat of any kind of dissension is usually enough for an enhanced degree of media attention.

The real story, of course, isn't Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson (President McCain is in a different category, nor is it Russ Feingold or Bernie Sanders. The story is Republican extremism that has given Harry Reid they Sisyphean task of finding sixty votes for permission for the majority of the Senate to work its will, and the story can't be told without the word extremism. Not moderation. Not conservatism. Extremism. I suppose that's one reason the story isn't being told - the media seems to think calling extremism by its name is, well, extremist.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's time for...

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Whoever they may be…

…the "smarter elements in Washington DC" are a little slow on the uptake. Matt Yglesias...
The smarter elements in Washington DC are starting to pick up on the fact that it's not tactical errors on the part of the president that make it hard to get things done, it's the fact that the country has become ungovernable.
They're a little off-target, too. The notion that the country "has become" ungovernable is a bit too passive. It makes it sound like the current situation is some kind of natural consequence of constitutional government or something. The notable fact about the situation isn't that it's hard to get things done, but rather that anything gets done at all when the Republican Party is devoted to making sure that nothing gets done. Obstructionism has been the central theme of Republican politics since the party got Newtered back in the nineties. Americans would only give Republicans a chance, (disgraced former Speaker) Newt Gingrich determined, if Republicans created failure. He wasn't entirely wrong.

Of course, given a chance, Republicans failed, but Republicanism today has nothing to do with governance. It's about gaining power through obstruction and exploitation. Power to do what? Very damn little, in fact, other than channel the product of working and middle class labor into the pockets of their corporate sponsors. They don't care about your job, your health or your home. They care about power and the pocketbooks of the people who purchase it for them.

The country hasn't become ungovernable. The Republican Party is hell-bent on making the country ungovernable though. That's why I continually insist that…

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Ten tunes...

...selected in the customary fashion.
Great Plains Gypsies- New Lonesome Road Blues
Eddy Raven & Jo-El Sonnier -Fais Do Do
Little Milton - Grits Ain't Groceries
Indigo Swing - How Lucky
Steve Earle - Sweet Little '66
Dave Van Ronk - Song To Woody
Guy Clark - She Loves To Ride Horses
Alison Krauss - 9 To 5
k.d. lang - Three Days
Carrie Newcomer - There And Back

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Friday, December 11, 2009


Richard Allen Smith at VetVoice...
Blackwater Xe is not a private security contracting firm. Call them what they are: mercenaries.
Well, that, and a national disgrace. Even with the back door draft and inadequate dwell times, we can't raise and sustain sufficient forces to pursue our so-called "necessary" war without mercs.

Another reason that I hate what they've done to my Army.

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Yes, please…

…or them, anyway. Goldy...
Here’s a free tip to those Seattle-haters in the rest of the state who just love to screw us big city folks: pass a high-earners income tax.
Heck, a low earners one, too, if we can get the sales tax down below 5% or so. A corporate profits tax to replace the B&O wouldn't hurt, either.

First things first, though, and the high earners tax should be the first thing.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quote of the day.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)...
"I remember Bush Junior kissing Prince Abdullah on the cheek, and then holding his hand for an extended period of time. Maybe if he'd let him get to second base, then gasoline would be a dollar a gallon."

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They might as well…

…although I never noticed the difference. SC Republican Jim DeMint...
“We need to stop looking at the tea parties as separate from the Republican party.”
I guess noisy, willfully ignorant obstructionists all look the same to me.

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From the "Reports of our death…" file.

Sorry about all those folks who thought they were voting for Dennis Kucinich last fall. Happily, it turns out there weren't all that many of them. Public Policy Polling, via Ron Chusid
Our new poll suggests that liberal unhappiness with Barack Obama is still largely anecdotal and not very widespread. His approval rating with liberal Democrats is 95%, with only 3% disapproving of him.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

From the "Me too" file.

John Cole...
I’ve been as disgusted and let down as many people by some decisions, but I look at where we were and where we are now, and there is no chance in hell I am going to be demoralized come November 2010. I’ve been watching the wingnuts - we need to keep them as far away from power as is legally possible. They are dangerous, and this Obama fellow, despite some letdowns, ain’t half bad.
I'm about up to there with the gaggle of self-styled "progressives" who revel in detailing every Democratic polling downturn, denounce every legislative compromise as a cowardly betrayal of some imagined "netroots" that stands poised for revolution, constantly refer to my political party with dismissive third person terminology and openly advocate the defeat of my Party and it's leaders in the name of their "progress." <

Here's a scoop from the clue bin - progress is hard, change is incremental and for a starving man, half a loaf can save a life. My personal politics are probably considerably to the left of most of the gang I'm talking about. Very little is being done in accord with my personal specifications. Mine, though, is a minority view in America. I'd love to see a Congressional majority that could win on a platform of single payer health care, confiscatory taxation of high incomes and immediate withdrawal from every combat arena we're presently deploying troops to.

I'd love to hit the mega-millions lottery, too. The odds are much better - or would be if I bought a lottery ticket.

This isn't a call for blind acquiescence to Democratic shortcomings. There's a continuing need for critique and correction within the broad folds of the Democratic Party. I've done my part on that score for decades, at Party meetings, in platform battles and primary contests, and I've seen some actual progress over time as a result of those fights. Open racial bigotry, for instance, has largely been driven from our ranks, and great - if still insufficient - strides have been made on behalf of equal treatment for women and the LGBT community within our ranks. You don't have to have all that much historical perspective to remember a time when those challenges seemed insurmountable. We're about to see health care legislation that, while not enough, will save thousands of lives every year. People are getting fed who would be hungry, housed who woudl be homeless and protected who would be neglected without the efforts of Democrats at every level of government.

The Democratic Party is not a perfect institution made up of perfect individuals. It is, however, in every instance better than the party that would elevate John Boehner to Speaker of the House or Mitch McConnell to Senate Majority leader.

Many, if not most, of the leading voices in that "progressive" cabal won't even claim the title "Democrat," and at least one has openly admitted that not only is she not a member of the Party, she's not even on the side of the Democratic Party. In a country that has evolved a two-party system, if you're not on our side, well, which side are you on?

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

From the "Since you asked…" file.

The Moonie Times wants to know...
Could it be that President Obama's legal team is imploding due to a voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party?
Since you asked, no, it couldn't.

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…from DougJ.
The biggest mistake you can make with wingers—or with other human beings in general—is to assume that they’re logical or consistent. One should always remember that in order to avoid confusion.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

The last Clancy Brother.

Liam Clancy
September 2, 1935 - December 4, 2009

O, all the comrades e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away.
And all the sweethearts e'er I had,
They'd wished me one more day to stay.
But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Goodnight and joy be with you all.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

It's time for...

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Sunset on the Richmond Beach Riviera...

The view from the porch at work. It clicks bigger.

Sometimes it is perfect.

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From the "Don't panic" file...

Mike Lux sheds some (ahem) light over at Open Left, offering sage counsel for following the health insurance (or most any other) debate in Congress. It's all good, but these last bits deserve widespread repetition and attention...
5. Don't assume that anything in either the Senate or House bill is in there for good. Some things are inserted into bills specifically to be traded away at conference committee time.

6. Don't panic over anything, just keep organizing for what you want. A lot of groups are doing list building right now, seizing on real or imagined rumors to try to panic people into signing petitions or giving money. Most of these panic attacks are phony. My advice to activists out there is to just keep working hard on grassroots organizing around the issues you care the most about, and not worry too much over the panic attacks.

Don't panic, organize.

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One more time for them Dawgs.

Cal's a tough way to finish a tough season. I'm hoping - it's the friendly confines, after all, and the team's pretty healthy - but not too hopeful. Woof anyway, though. Go get one, guys.

Oh me of little faith.


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When I say random...

...I mean it. Ten for today...
Clarence Garlow - New Bon-Ton Roula
Red Meat - Lolita
George Jones - Choices
Peter, Paul & Mary - Freight Train
Jerry Lee Lewis - The Lewis Boogie
Dana Lyons - Swimmin' In The Big
Chris Ledoux & Garth Brooks - Whatcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy
The Beat Farmers - Reason To Believe
James Brown - Out Of Sight
David Crosby - Music Is Love

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Friday, December 04, 2009


My HS alma mater's football team heads to the Tacoma Dome to play for it's 7th State Championship in ten years tonight. Given the fortunes of the Hawks and Dawgs this year, it's nice to have the Wolverines to fall back on. And it's live on the teevee so I can lead the cheers at the perfect tavern. C'mon down and join in if you can.

Bellevue 23, Liberty 17

Way to go, Wolverines. 7 championships in the first decade of the century is an amazing achievement. Coach Butch Gondaroff is becoming a prep legend, and those kids just played their hearts out. As far as I know, there's only one NCAA Division I recruit on the team this year. Most of the seniors on the field were playing their last game of organized football, and they went out and created a great memory for themselves. Gotta love it.

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Chart of the day.

Colorized to emphasize the Bush recession and Obama recovery by Darryl...

It's still a long road back, but that's significant, if insufficient, progress.

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The kids are alright.

I wish more of their elders had as much sense. Via Political Wire...
A new national poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics finds 58% of America's 18-29 year-olds approve of President Obama's job performance generally but disapprove of his handling of specific issues including the economy (52% disapprove), health care (52% disapprove) and Afghanistan (55% disapprove).
I, too, "disapprove" of President Obama's handling of specific issues. I wish his economic program had started with a greater emphasis on job creation. I wish his health care program had started with a push for single payer. I wish the withdrawal from Afghanistan had started six months ago rather than eighteen months from now.

Best as I recall, though, there wasn't a candidate on the November ballot who offered any of those positions. At least this administration has actually noticed that there's an unemployment problem and is taking some steps to directly address it. At least there's some movement toward a more comprehensive and accessible health insurance system. At least there's some acknowledgement that wars have to end someday. That's all progress that, in general, I approve of.

Of course, there's a group of folks out there who disagree with the President on each of those issues because they think he's going too far in every instance. That's the major problem with "approve/disapprove" polling. It doesn't mean anything unless you know why.

At any rate, this is pretty encouraging news. I imagine that a poll of 68-79 year olds might produce a different result, but a lot of those folks are going to be somewhat less engaged a couple of years or so out than the youngsters. There's still reason for hope.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

From the "Since you asked…" file.

John Aravosis inquires…
The conventional wisdom in Washington is that the base will always be with you at election time because they have nowhere else to go. Is that true?
Since you asked, not exactly. The base will always be with you at general election time because, by definition, the base is made up of the voters who are always with you at election time, or at least at general election time. It's not that they have no where else to go, it's that they don't even consider going somewhere else. If they need some kind of external motivation or persuasion, they may be critical voters, because the base is rarely sufficient for victory, but they aren't your base. In essence, the Democratic base is made up of the folks we call "Yellow Dogs," folks like me who, come general election time are going to vote and we're going to vote for the "D" next to the name, not the name at all.

Primaries are more problematic. Being on the leftish side of the Democratic base, over the years I've supported the primary candidate who's likewise somewhat to the left of the base. That means I've been on the losing end of more than a few primary elections since I first got "Clean for Gene" way back when. Come November, though, I've always come home because at the end of the day a Democrat who is somewhat more centrist than I am is still superior to any Republican. That's particularly true in legislative races where questions like leadership votes and the control of committee chairs matter more than the particular positions an individual candidate might take.

It's not likely a concern I'll ever have living in WA-7, where the Democratic base actually is sufficient for a win and is at least as leftish as I (as a local legislative chair once said, Jesus Christ his own self could announce his candidacy as a Republican from atop Queen Anne Hill and he'd end up 35% of the November vote), but if I was faced with a choice between the bluest of the Blue Dogs and the most liberal Rockefeller Republican, the D would still get my vote every time. That's base.

To coin a phrase, when you're running on a partisan line, all your base belongs to you.

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Republicans wrote the book.

Just another reason that...

New Hampshire sounds like an excellent place to get started.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

On the other hand…

my own personal Congressman's taking a stand against the escalation, and he makes some good points...
...No matter how many troops we commit, the United States cannot bring about the change necessary to stabilize Afghanistan. This responsibility ultimately falls on the Afghani government and its people, and no outsider can force this change to occur.

Not only is this war costly in human terms, but it is bleeding our ability to provide for our own people and construct economic recovery and security at home.

The Bush administration made a fatal mistake when it led us into Iraq and away from finishing the task in Afghanistan, and we have been paying the price ever since. I fear that we are asking our troops to fix a problem of our own making that the military cannot solve alone.
I'm afraid that's a fear I share.

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Me too…

…I guess. Gordon...
Obama talked me into giving him a shot. 18 months. I don't like it but I can live with it. He's not Bush.
I don't think he's right, I don't think it will work, but he inherited a mess and deserves a chance to clean it up as best as he thinks he can.

I guess.

Don't blow it, Barry.

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Two out of three isn't bad.

James Fallows is mostly right...
"The former vice president, Dick Cheney, has brought dishonor to himself, his office, and his country."
To his (thankfully former) office and his country, no doubt. To himself? That presumes he had any honor to dis in the first place, a presumption that goes, I think, a field too far.

Hat tip to Political Wire.

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From the "Since you asked…" file.

Over at the New York Times, The Editors wonder...
Will 30,000 additional troops be sufficient to curb the insurgency?
Since you asked, no.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

If he's going to make it bigger…

…and he is, make him pay for it. Ben Nelson has a not so novel notion...
“We didn’t have a war tax in the second World War,” Nelson said, and instead the government sold Americans bonds. ”People invested in their country, in that fashion [and] made a lot of sense back then. I don’t know why it might not make sense today, certainly in lieu of jumping to tax.”
Fair enough. If WWII's the model, bring back the 94% top marginal rate and sell all the bonds you want, though you won't need as many.

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Promise kept.

It's worth remembering that an escalation in Afghanistan was a campaign promise. Or did you think he was just kidding?

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Every once in a while…

…there's a bright spot.
Less than three months after President Obama enforced U.S. trade law and provided relief to the domestic tire industry in response to surging exports of tires from China, there are signs the tire industry is rebounding.
Free traders might call it protectionism, but I've never been able to grasp the problem with protecting American jobs, markets and vital industries.

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