Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I'm off to the perfect tavern to pour shots and champagne for the New Years revelers and won't be back 'til next year, so I'd better get my last holiday of 2010 wishes in now.

If you're out and about tonight, be safe. You won't have a better year next year if you start it with a DUI or worse tonight. If you've got nowhere else to be and you're anywhere near the Richmond Beach neighborhood of Shoreline, drop by The Cabin and say howdy. Be sure to mention that you're a friend of the blog to the guy with the bow tie and tux shirt (that would be me) and you may find your New Year's tab lightened by the price of a drink.

However you celebrate, or however you don't, best wishes from The Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left and myself. It's not been our best year, but y'all made it a better one than it might heve been and we're truly grateful.

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What victory looks like…

…via Juan Cole.
Al-Safir reports that 2 were killed and 14 wounded in a series of bombings extending over a two-hour period in Baghdad in the late afternoon on Thursday, which targeted Christians.
General Petraeus must be very proud of his, ahem, achievement.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

I just want to say... 'bout them Dawgs?

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What America needs…

…according to dadepfan.
What America needs now is the small child who can point out “but daddy, the Republicans are only doing harm and no good whatsoever!!”
Or a bunch of 'em. Us codgers need all the help we can get putting the word out. Meanwhile, I'll keep saying it this way...

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Killing two obligatory birds with one post...

...simply by appropriating Mike Licht's 10 Best New Year’s Resolutions Ever:
01. I will make no New Year’s Resolutions.

02. I will make no New Year’s Resolutions.

03. I will make no New Year’s Resolutions.

04. I will make no New Year’s Resolutions.

05. I will make no New Year’s Resolutions.

06. I will make no New Year’s Resolutions.

07. I will make no New Year’s Resolutions.

08. I will make no New Year’s Resolutions.

09. I will make no New Year’s Resolutions.

10. I will make no New Year’s Resolutions.
Thanks, Mike!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Map of the day.

Via Mr. Natural...

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From the "Since you asked…" file.

An inquiring headline from Taegan Goddard...
Is Jon Stewart the Next Edward Murrow?
Since you asked, no.

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And the painted ponies go up and down...

Lt. Col. Joseph Ryan, on the Pech Valley campaign in Afghaninam...
"There is nothing strategically important about this terrain. We fight here because the enemy is here. The enemy fights here because we are here."
Lt. Col. Ryan has spent nearly a decade in combat. Isn't it time we brought him and his troops home until we find a mission worthy of their service and sacrifice?

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fun fact.

Via the DKos Diary Rescue...
It was on this day in 1865 that James Mason invented the coffee percolator, thus making this the only Holy Day of Obligation for Unitarians.
...and for most of the Norwegians I know. I'm not a Unitarian, or a Norwegian and I'm not much for holy obligations, but that's one I suppose I oughta observe (he says, taking a sip from his bedtime cup pot.)

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From the "Sad but true" file.

Democrats apologize for what they should be celebrating.
All too often, I'm sorry to admit. All too often.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...random ten time. A happy x-mas mix...

The Jackson Five - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Paddy Roberts - Merry X-Mas You Suckers
Candye Kane & Country Dick Montana - Let's Put The X Back In X-Mas
Mel Torme - The Christmas Song
The Soul Stirrers - Christmas Means Love
Wanda Jackson - Blues For Christmas
Heather Dale - I Saw Three Ships/Song Of The Ship
The Andrews Sisters - Winter Wonderland
The Sonics - Santa Claus
Ike & Tina Turner - Merry Christmas Baby

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Speaking of clout…

…and committees, I'm pleased to note the impending assignments for my own personal Senator-Elect, Maralyn Chase (great big capital letter italicized bold print D-32).

She'll be stepping right in as Vice Chair of the Economic Development, Trade & Innovation Committee, where Maralyn can build on the work she's done in creating jobs and opportunity for Washingtonian's in the State House. On a proudly partisan level, Maralyn's been a leader in building bridges between the Democratic Party and the main street business community. This is a great spot for her to expand on that work, as well.

The Environment, Water & Energy Committee is home to some of the issues I know are closest to Maralyn's heart, and as the Senator for the 32nd, home to both salt and fresh water shorelines, fragile watersheds, and active alternative energy community, they are issues close to the heart of her constituents, as well.

Maralyn will also serve on the Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee. That's quite a portfolio, but I can speak personally to her suitability for the Tribal Relations portion. Maralyn served on the Board of Directors of the Seattle Indian Center when I represented the Center on the Seattle Indian Services Commission, so I got to watch her work on issues related to everything from basic human services for the entire community to job training for tribal members while negotiating the sometimes troublesome path of tribal and personal entanglements that can be found in Indian Country. Growing up on and about the Yakama reservation in central Washington gave her insight that helped in that assignment, and that will help in this one. I think I can confidently say that the tribes will find and open mind and an alert ear in Olympia with Maralyn on the job.

It's going to be a tough session coming up, but if every member of the Senate has been as well matched to their expertise and their district's interests as Maralyn, some good may come out of it yet.

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Infused as I am…

…with the generosity of the festive holiday spirit, I've actually got something nice to say, probably the last thing, about the Governor's budget proposal (in fairness, she hasn't got many nice things to say about it, either. Hard times.). Here's a cut I heartily endorse...
Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposed two-year budget released Wednesday contains a wide swath of deep budget cuts, including one that fans of elections won't care for: dumping the 2012 presidential primary.

Dropping the presidential primary would save $10 million, according to Gregoire's office.
It's exactly fans of elections, in fact, that should be applauding the elimination of the beauty pageant primary. What could be more harmful to the institution of elections than a state-sponsored sham?

Though Republicans have assigned a portion of their national convention delegates on the basis of the primary, Democrats have shunned it completely. So long as there's no mechanism for maintaining party integrity in the process of selecting delegates to the party convention, we're compelled by our national rules to do so.

The presidential primary is the product of our state's so-called "mainstream" Republicans, exemplified best, perhaps, by the Republican Secretaries of State that have used their office to promote this boondoggle. After the Robertson revolution overran their caucuses in 1988 (what you thought right wing insurrection was something new?), they've lived in fear of their base, and the primary is a way to dilute the core of radicalism that the GOP is built on. The same gang is behind the nonsensical "non-partisanship" of our state primary and the King County elections, and the anti-democratic top two primary system, which shuts out third party challenges by statute.

Republicans like the primary election because they hate democracy. Twisted bastards.

Cut it, Chris!

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To quickly recap…

…a couple of weeks ago I posted a big emotional dump about our financial straits. It was pretty raw stuff, and by the time I got back to the blog the next night I had it in mind to take it down. Before I could, though, Carl had picked it up and posted an appeal on my behalf at Horse's Ass. Andrew soon followed suit at the Advocate.

Thanks to the expanded reach their support gave me, the next few days produced about as much in donations as the last seven years of blogging have. Those contributions had an immediate effect, both financially and emotionally. They helped pay, or pay down, at least, some utility bills, avert an automotive disaster and get through a few days of our daily business. They also confirmed that I'm not just sending electrons into the ether. There's folks out there, folks that appreciate my efforts, folks that care about our welfare. You folks.

Things are some better now. We're not out of the woods yet, but with your help we've worked our way back to the path. Yesterday I was finally able to send a check to my long-suffering landlord, who has been patient beyond understanding. Of course, another one's due in just a few days, but it's one step at a time right now. With the rent paid and the heat on (neither a certainty just days ago), we're having kids and grandkids over tonight. No tree this year, no Chinese take-out buffet, no piles of packages. Just time to spend with people we love. It's arguably better this way, although it would be better yet to do it by choice, I suppose.

There are thanks aplenty to pass around. To Carl and Andrew, of course, who made my moaning meaningful with their posts of support. To all of the northwest bloggers who took notice and sent along words of encouragement or chipped in what they could. You make me feel like an appreciated peer in a community of folks I read daily and admire greatly. To all the friends of the blog and I, old and new, near and far. And, of course, especially to Joel, Stephen, Neal, Darryl, Bob, Howard, Dean, Randolph, Chad, Stevan, Carin, Rob, Richard, Jennifer, Peggy and Jaime.

I can't begin to tell ya'll what you've done for me or what it's meant to me. I suspect most of ya'll know, though. If you're just catching up to the story, here's the obligatory PayPal link one last time, this time 'round.

We're still broke, but because of you we're not broken.

Thanks again.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010


All Democratic senators returning next year have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., urging him to consider action to change long-sacrosanct filibuster rules.

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My sentiments exactly...

(You can click it a bunch bigger. You should.)

Lots more funnies for smart folks at Calamaties of Nature.

Hat tip to PZ Meyers.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

From the "Some days ya' eat the bear…" file.

Good news abounds...
AFP - President Barack Obama Wednesday signed a historic law repealing a ban on gays serving openly in the military, and the Senate prepared to hand him another win by backing a new Russia nuclear deal.

Reuters - A bill to provide medical care for firefighters and other responders to the September 11, 2001 attacks passed the Senate on Wednesday after backers struck a deal to end a Senate Republican blockade of the measure.

AP - The U.S. Senate approved a new strategic nuclear arms treaty with Russia on Wednesday, handing President Barack Obama a major foreign policy victory in his drive to improve ties with Moscow and curb the spread of atomic weapons to other countries.

The Senate voted 71-26 in favor of ratification after a contentious debate that threatened traditional bipartisanship on national security affairs.
71-26? Why did that have to seem so hard?

(Yeah, that's a rhetorical question.)

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As a native son…

…of Scoop and Maggie's Washington, I have a genetic appreciation for the parochial benefits of clout. Ours expands...
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Adam Smith won the top Democratic post on the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday night…


The Democratic Caucus on Thursday also backed a bid by Rep. Norm Dicks of Bremerton to remain the top Democrat on the defense appropriations subcommittee. Dicks overcame a resolution offered by Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina to bar him from serving as the subcommittee's ranking member while also holding the same position on the full appropriations committee.
Good for them!

Good for us, too.

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Picture of the day.

Via digby...

That's Harry Reid giving Dan Choi his West Point ring back, which he promised to do when the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell was passed.
It does, indeed, get better.

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From the "Since you asked…" file.

John Cole is curious...
Is it possible that the bullet we dodged in 2008 wasn’t Palin, but McCain?
Since you asked, sure, it's possible.

Personally, I think it was a push. One ignorant bigot's pretty much the same as the next to me.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Inch by inch, row by row…

…we're becoming civilized. The better, if not good, news from the Death Penalty Information Center, via Jeralyn...
Executions dropped by 12% compared with 2009, and by more than 50% since 1999. The number of new death sentences was about the same as in 2009, the lowest number in 34 years.

In a recent national poll conducted by Lake Research Partners, 61% of U.S. voters chose various alternative sentences over the death penalty as the proper punishment for murder. Only 33% chose the death penalty.
Good for us. Most of us, anyway.

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Break out the "Clean Plate Club" stickers…

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC...
When it's all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch.

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Monday, December 20, 2010


Goldy goes there...
Michael Vick’s fourth-quarter performance was so amazing, even my dog is becoming a reluctant fan.
You can take the boy out of Philly, but you can't take the Iggles out of the boy, I guess.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Regarding START…

…a reminder that bears repeating from Steve Benen...
Remember, the only organized groups on the planet hoping to see the Senate fail to ratify this treaty are Iranian officials, North Korean officials, hardliners in Russia, and most Republicans in the nation's capital.
Isn't there something on the books about giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

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Looking at Olympia...

...Democratic leaders in the State House have released their proposed committee assignments, and from a 32nd District point of view, I hope they get what they want. Here's what's in store for my own personal legislators...
Rep. Cindy Ryu:

Business & Financial Services
Community Development & Housing

Rep. Ruth Kagi:

Chair - Early Learning & Human Services
Health & Human Services Appropriations & Oversight
Ways & Means
Cindy's drawn some strong assignments - particularly the spots on the Rules and Transportation Committee rosters - for a new member. Ruth, long a respected leader in the caucus, retains her chairmanship and her seat on Ways & Means, AKA "the powerful Ways & Means Committee." That power is enhanced by Ways & Means absorbing the responsibilities of the disbanded Finance Committee.

"Good luck" is likely more appropriate that "congratulations," because the legislature's tasks this year will range from difficult to painful. It's some comfort, though, that my LD has sent members of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party to fight the good fight for us against some daunting odds, and that they'll be well positioned to have a strong impact on the outcome.

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From the "Since you asked…" file.

Chris in Paris wonders
Who needs a two party system when it's hardly possible to tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans?
Since you asked, I suppose countries with parliamentary systems need two parties. America doesn't, though. The natural division anticipated in the Constitution is between branches, not parties. The slide into factional division was both feared and opposed by the framers.

By the way, the view across the Atlantic may be obscured, but if ask someone waiting for their unemployment compensation to be restored or a gay soldier, I think they can tell you the difference.

If the problem is that sometimes some Democrats are wrong about some things, well, that's the nature of the 'big tent,' and another reason we don't need two parties in America.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

A reminder.

A reminder.

I'm working on a wrap-up post for the fundraiser we've been running for the last few day. Yep, the end of the Upper Left begathon is in sight.

It's not here just yet, though. Yeah, I'm still pitching.

You can find all the sordid details of my circumstances and the progress ya'll have helped me make by scrolling down. The need is still real. The PayPal link is still here.

If you haven't, and you can…well, you know the drill.

Back later...

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The stage is set.


That's 'just' the cloture vote, of course.

Case closed, though. Looks like history tomorrow.

They didn't wait. Final passage 65-31.

Yeah for us. All of us.

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One step away...

AP - Congress is one step away from ending the ban on gays serving openly in the military, with the Senate ready for a landmark vote that could deliver a major victory to the homosexual community, liberals and President Barack Obama.
…not to mention a major victory for the military, the country and humankind in general.

And me.

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Since you're here... 'bout a nice random ten?
Carbon Leaf - Raise The Roof
Neko Case - John Saw That Number
6 Day Bender - Miss Linda
Emmylou Harris - Crescent City
Alison Brown - Everybody's Talkin'
Frank Sinatra - By The Time I Get To Phoenix
David Grisman, John Hartford & Mike Seeger - Maybelline
Wilco - Can't Stand It
Josh Ritter - The Curse
The Limeliters - The Hammer Song
…and a not so random tribute to the late, great Don Van Vliet...
The G.T.O.'s -The Captain's Fat Theresa Shoes
R.I.P., Cap.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

From the "You keep using that word…" file.

'Progressive thinking equity firm' buys Blackwater
Here's a progressive thought - close it down.

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Shut up, he explained.

A reality-based explanation of reality from The Democratic Strategist...
Magellan Strategies polled over 1000 likely 2012 Democratic presidential primary voters, and didn't find much in the way of an uprising, at least as measured by hypothetical primary matchups. You may recall that Hillary Clinton won NH in 2008. She's not about to challenge Obama in 2012, but according to Magellan, if she did, she'd be trailing 59-28. There's been talk of Howard Dean taking on the president; he trails Obama in the poll 78-10. How's about Bernie Sanders, who filibustered the tax deal that upset progressive elites so badly? He'd be in even worse shape in NH, down 79-8 to the president.
Clear? Crystal.

I get the frustration. Heck, I thought Ted Kennedy sounded like a pretty good idea in 1980. Making the same mistake twice, though, however well intentioned, has never made anything better.

Enough primary talk already.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yeah, poverty stills sucks…

…but things aren't nearly as bleak as they were when I dumped my tale of financial and emotional woe on y'all last week. There are still major money issues looming pretty immediately in my life, but not so many now.

Response to the fundraiser Carl kicked off in response to my post last Thursday night has been enormously gratifying, and if it hasn't solved all of my budget issues, it's sure made a big difference in my emotional outlook. The combination of contributions and comments each day has given the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left and I a huge lift, and helped us raise our view from some of our more immediate challenges enough to focus on some strategies for going forward.

To recap, you've helped us pay down the phone bill, buy a car battery, clear a bank overdraft and have a little bit of walking around money for bus fares and such. I even squeezed out a few bucks for a token x-mas package for the youngest grandkids.

All that being said, I'm going to keep pitching for another day or two. If you haven't had the chance, and you have the ability, please click the PayPal link to chip in.

I can't begin to tell you how much even the smallest contributions or the shortest notes have encouragement have meant to us this week. While we may not have gone from poverty to prosperity just yet, you've lifted me out of the despair that seemed inescapable just a few short days ago. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.

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A cunning plan…

…from artistdogboy.
I also think we should find if Tim Eyman attends church and then send all the people who are going to fall through the cracks over there so the congregation he belongs to can take care of them...
Me too.


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Good question...

..from Laura Conaway at Maddow Blog...
If, after years of debate and two votes for repeal in the House and the waste of $1.3 billion in taxpayer money and 13,000 service members and full support from the Pentagon, the Senate musters the votes needed to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell but somehow can't find the time to do it, then how on earth are they going to call themselves a serious legislative body?

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Dispatch from Afghaninam...

"In evaluating the enemy strategy it is evident to me that he believes our Achilles heel is our resolve ... Your continued strong support is vital to the success of our mission ... Backed at home by resolve, confidence, patience, determination and continued support, we will prevail…

 Vietnam over the Communist aggressor!"

General William Westmoreland, April 28, 1967

Hat tip to Fixer.

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Quote of the day.

Brig. Gen. John Adams...
We have one-hundred-and-fifty-thousand US warriors doing their job over Christmas and the New Year, the U.S. Senate should do its job.
I remember getting 12 hours off for my Christmas in a combat zone. I figure the Senators are entitled to the same deal.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The story so far.

What started out as an expression of sheer frustration before being turned into a fundraiser has been rewarding for me well beyond the financial support I've received. That financial support has produced some pretty significant results around here. You've kept the car running, the phone ringing and, as of today, we've wiped out the overdraft at the bank and stopped the steady drain of continuing charges.

I'm still pitching because rent, lights and heat are still real issues for us, but we're so far beyond where we were just a few days ago that it's impossible to truly express my astonished appreciation.

The whole back story is behind the links above, but the short story is that if you think the nearly nine thousand posts I've written over the last 8+ years and the activism that has informed those posts has some value, and your circumstances allow you to chip in a bit of that value, I really need your help.

Here’s the PayPal link. Thanks for doing what you can, even if it's only taking the time to listen. That matters, too.

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From the "Wild about Harry" file.

The Majority leader make's 'em think it's Hell on the Senate floor today. via AMERICAblog
In just a few minutes we're going to proceed to the START Treaty. I'm told the Republicans are going to make us read the entire treaty in an effort to stall us from passing it. Isn't that wonderful?

That piece of -- that treaty has been here since April or May of this year. Plenty of time to read it. These are additional days of wasted time we could be using to pass legislation to get home for the holidays, yet some of my Republican colleagues have the nerve to whine about having to stay and actually do the work of the American people.

We make large salaries, Madam President. We could work as most Americans do during the holidays. Perhaps Senators Kyl and DeMint have been in Washington too long because in my state, Nevadans employed in casinos and hotels and throughout the state of Nevada, on ranches, basically every place, have to work hard on holidays, including Christmas, to support their families.

The mines don't get shut down on Christmas. People work. They get paid double time a lot of times when they have good contracts, but they work on Christmas holidays. Most people don't get two weeks off on any time, let alone Christmas week. And these people who are lucky enough to have a job in these trying times need to work extra hours to make ends meet. So it's offensive to me and millions of working Americans across this country for any Senator to suggest that working through the Christmas holidays is somehow sacrilegious.

They decide to work with us, we can all have a happy holiday. If they don't, we're going to continue until we finish the people's business.

Madam President, I move to proceed to Executive Session to Calendar Number 7, the START Treaty. I ask for the yeas and nays.
Damn straight, Senator.

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It seems to me...

...that the cheap mortage and quick re-fi ads on sports talk radio have been crowded out by the bankruptcy and divorce lawyers lately.

Just my impression, but I imagine that it means something.

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Not for everyone.

Not for, for instance...

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Some good news...

Yesterday, a slow grind and ominous click greeted the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left as she turned the key in her 9 year old Subaru wagon. Yep, the original equipment battery was finally gone, dead, kaput.

Just a few days ago that would have produced a major crisis. The car would have remained parked and she would have spent the afternoon cancelling appointments instead of making sales presentations. That's most assuredly not the way out of our financial fix, but until Carl started the wheels turning on an Upper Left fundraiser, there just wasn't battery money in the budget, because there just wasn't any money in the budget.

Thanks to your generosity, though, I was able to hand her the PayPal debit card, she arranged a jump start and was off to Budget Batteries. It's impossible to express how great it felt to be confronted by a problem and be able to respond immediately. Luckily it was just the battery, a relatively inexpensive problem to fix, but it wasn't luck that got it fixed. It was you. Thanks.

A short time later, the phone company called to see if we'd be paying anything on the account this year, and sure enough, there was enough money in the PayPal account to make the partial payment needed to keep the phone, and the dial-up connection that allows me to blog from home alive.

You did that, too. Thanks again.

We've got a couple more irons in the fire, and things are looking considerably more hopeful than they did last Thursday night, but if you haven't had the chance to chip in yet, and you're able, I'm asking again. Every little bit, $5 or $10 bucks, makes a huge difference to us. Bigger bits are welcome, too. Here's the PayPal link again.

As always, thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for contributing.

And thanks for the battery!

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Chart of the day.

Via Ezra Klein...

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Quote of the day.

Afghani President Hamid Karzai...
“If I had to choose sides today, I’d choose the Taliban.”
Americans died last week to sustain his government. Americans will surely die this week to sustain his government.


Bring 'em home until we have a mission worthy of their service.

Hamid Karzai ain't it.

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While you were away…

…a fundraiser has sprung up over the weekend. Yep, things really looked as dire as I wrote on Thursday night. I was too frustrated at that point to even ask for help, but Carl picked up the ball at Horse's Ass and put my whining to work. Andrew took the hand-off with a post at the NPI Advocate, and things look a bit brighter on Monday morning.

The need is still as real, though and nearly as unmet as it was three days ago. If you can chip in, here's the PayPal link. Anything helps.

In addition to Carl and Andrew's help in spreading the word, it's been particularly gratifying to see the names of so many of my favorite local bloggers among the contributors. Thanks again to you all. The sense that I'm part of a community of folks, and perhaps a valued part at that, is a good one.

Every nickel, though, from every source, is hugely appreciated and will go to meet real needs. I don't do this for a living, have never planned to, and don't even imaginable that it's possible. Right now, though, because of all y'all, it's giving me some degree of economic life while the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left wrack our brains to come up with the survival resources we need.

The links above will lead you to the whole sordid story. I don't want to turn this into a whine-a-thon, because your help has put me in a far better state of mind. I've learned, though, that there's no profit in false pride, and I admit that I need your help right now. Again, if you can, here's the link.

Whether you're in a position to help out or not, though, thanks, as always, for being here.

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From the "What victory looks like" file.

Via the NYT...
Thousands of Iraqi Christians from Baghdad and Mosul have fled to northern Iraq amid a campaign of targeted violence against them.
And all it costs is blood and treasure.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

From the "You can't handle the truth" file.

Via Politico...
John Boehner thinks President Barack Obama is engaging, smart and brilliant but also remains smarted by the president accusing him of taking taxpayers hostage to secure a tax break for the rich.
I note that Boehner doesn't argue that the accusations were wrong, but simply that the President was mean.

Boo hoo.

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From the "Me neither" file.

Matt Yglesias...
Actually preventing terrorist attacks is a valuable thing to do, but it seems to me that very intensity security at airports doesn’t so much eliminate attacks as encourage people to set off bombs on crowded city streets instead. That doesn’t strike me as a particularly high-value undertaking.
Me neither.

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It's a dark and stormy day…

…in the upper left, with a "Pineapple Express" due to bring several inches of rain down on us, but there's a ray of light shining on Upper Left World Headquarters. With the help of Andrew and Carl, donations have been coming in and, while we're far from out of the financial fix we've fallen into, some immediate needs have been met and there's a little reserve in the PayPal account. Might even be able to pay a bill or two.

As I've mentioned in comments, that little financial toe-hold is a huge emotional lift for the Brilliant And Beautiful Bride of Upper Left and me. It's certainly solidified my resolve to keep this blog up and running in most any way possible. If I lose power, I'll blog by battery. If the phone goes, I'll go find a hot spot somewhere. Whatever happens, keep coming back, because I will. It's the best way I can think of to say thanks.

Again, the gory details that started this off are here. If you haven't had the chance, and you have the ability, please consider chipping in via the PayPal link here.

And thanks again. And again and again and again...

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

A factual random ten.

If I were to randomly pluck ten songs from my hard drive, they might be these ones...
The Mammals - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Pete Seeger - The Girl I Left Behind
Neil Young - Harvest Moon
The Shaggs - Philosophy Of The World
Emmylou Harris - The Price You Pay
Allen Toussaint - Yes We Can Can
Donovan - Wear Your Love Like Heaven
John Prine - I Just Want To Dance With You
Johnny Mathis - Wonderful, Wonderful
Greg Brown - Tequila And Me
In fact, they were.

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I guess it's official.

If Carl says spilling my guts constitutes a fundraiser, it's a fundraiser.

Of course, it's not an officially official fundraiser, I suppose, until I embed a PayPal link into the body of a post. Here it is.

Thanks to all who've pitched in so far. As abject as I may feel my circumstances are, the acknowledgement that what I try to do here has some value counts for as much as the money you've been kind enough to send along.

I've said about enough about my circumstances. We got here by losing about two thirds of our household income over the last couple years. Being largely dependent on tips and commissions isn't a particularly sound foundation in a recession, we've learned.

I'm not very good at this. I've never tried to "monetize" Upper Left. I have rarely asked for donations except on behalf of campaigns. On the other hand, I've kept this up for over eight years because I think, and I've been reassured by others, that the voice of a solo blogger with my outlook and experience has value.

I hope you think so, too. Kind words, kind thoughts, and, of course, contributions all help and are all appreciated.

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Congratulations are in order…

…to the new leadership of the King County Democrats. Via Steve Zemke...
This last weekend the King County Democrats met and elected new officers for 2011 and 2012. Here is a list of who was elected.
Chair: Steve Zemke
1st Vice Chair: Megan Gustafson
2nd Vice Chair: Andrew Villeneuve
3rd Vice Chair: Chad Lupkes
4th Vice Chair: Omaha Sternberg
Secretary: Chris Maryatt
Treasurer: Jeff Upthegrove
State Committeeman: Javier Valdez
State Committewoman: Ann Martin

It's been awhile since I've been active at the County Level, but there are some names there familiar even to an old-timer like me, along with an encouraging number of new ones.

Among the familiar, Javier Valdez was chair of the 43rd while I was chair of the 32nd LD, and has been a great deal since. I suspect he doesn't know what an inspiration he has been to how many Democrats, young and old, over the years. A special shout out to you, Javier. Congratulations and thanks for your continued service.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

These, too, are facts…

...real fact-checked facts. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)...
"Mr. President, in the year 2007, the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income. The top 1 percent earned 23.5 percent of all income--more than the entire bottom 50 percent. That is apparently not enough. The percentage of income going to the top 1 percent has nearly tripled since the 1970s. In the mid-1970s, the top 1 percent earned about 8 percent of all income. In the 1980s, that figure jumped to 14 percent. In the late 1990s, that 1 percent earned about 19 percent."
Slight satisfaction, I suppose, in knowing I'm not alone down here.

(And more thanks than I can possibly express to the faithful reader who hit the PayPal button and bailed me out for another day. There's milk in the fridge, bus fare in my pocket and my teeth have been securely attached to my mouth. Really, thanks!)

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From the "Just the facts..." file.

Steve M...
And bears, well, you know...except mama grizzlies, I suppose.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Poverty seriously sucks.

It seems to suck even harder when you work your butt off at a job everyone tells you you're good at and you still don't make enough to pay your bills.

I'll wake up tomorrow without bus fare to get to work or the two or three bucks I need to get a tube of denture adhesive that makes it possible to do little things like eat and talk.

Rent? Not even on the map at this point. When the phone or power goes, so does the blog, I guess. Peter's already been robbed to pay Paul - taking out the draw that paid last months rent meant my last paycheck didn't cover my overdraft, and the way charges pile up, the next one probably won't either.

Holidays? You've got to be kidding.

I've been broke before, and that's not so bad. This is different. There's a kind of hopelessness that's new to me.

Blegging doesn't seem to work. Working doesn't seem to work. I'm not particularly cut out for a life of crime, but it's something I've pondered. Maybe I'll hit the Lotto if I ever scare up the price of a ticket.

Sorry about the rant, but I'm pretty near wits end.

Or a bit past, maybe...

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…I still hate what they're doing to my Army...
The Defense Department's Medical Surveillance report from November examines "a large, widespread, and growing mental health problem among U.S. military members."


The Army was hit hardest by the most common and long-lasting problems -- post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, bipolar disorder, alcohol dependence and substance dependence, according to the report.
Support the troops. Bring 'em home until we have a mission worthy of their service.

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Thanks a hundred and sixty one million…

…to Republican Governors-elect John Kasich and Scott Walker, who are giving up federal stimulus money for rail projects in their states. It'll be spread around a bit, but that's a nice chunk coming to the upper left...
The other states that will get Ohio and Wisconsin’s money will be Washington, which will get up to $161 million; Illinois, which will get $42.3 million; and New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oregon, North Carolina, Iowa, and Indiana, which will all get less than $10 million.
So, thanks again, guys. We can use the money. And the jobs. The trains, too.

(I'm just guessing, but I'm betting that it's an educated guess, that thanks are also in order to Senator Murray for getting us such a prime spot on that list.)

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A wink is as good as a nod…

…to lefties blinded by eight years of Bush, I guess. Bill Ayers does his best Dennis Green on Citizen Radio...
"When Obama said he was a pragmatic moderate, people on the right said, no, he's lying, he's a secret muslim, he's a secret terrorist, he's a secret socialist he's a secret black nationalist, all these things, that was stupid, that was ridiculous. People on the left said oh, I think he's winking at us, I don't think he's really moderate, I think he's smarter than moderate. Well. I hate to tell people, but he is who he is, and he is exactly who he announced he was."

Hat tip to Brighton for the pointer and transcription.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010


MoDo shoots, scores...
In “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” they should have a line at the end assuring that “almost every living creature involved in this show was harmed.”
Viewers included.

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artistdogboy on The Deal...
I'm not saying you shouldn't be swallowing hard on this. God knows the rich should be paying more taxes. But given the circumstances Obama has at least shown the ability to pull the trigger instead of just posturing some purist position and get something in return while the Democrats still control the lame duck Congress. The alternative is a tax increase for everyone, complete uncertainty and loss of bargaining power after the Republicans retake power in the house and gain even more power in the Senate January 1st.
I don't know if the deal the President cut is the best deal possible, but Congressional Democrats have a chance to make it better if they can. If they can't, the combination of maintaining middle class tax rates and some new stimulus measures is worth the hard swallow.

I say that as someone in favor of top marginal rates and inheritance taxes that most of you might consider confiscatory. That's my ideal. One thing I've learned, though, is that the ideal choice is rarely the best choice, because it's rarely a choice at all.

Obama's done his best. Congress has its chance. There are a number of interesting amendments being circulated - a debt ceiling raise, a longer unemployment extension, adjustments to the inheritance tax provisions - that would be improvements if Congress can get them done, but when the time comes to do something, the administration deal is, on balance, worth doing.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

From the "Reports of my death…" file.

Obama holds the base. Post-election polling...
Democrats: 82% Approve 12% disapprove
Liberals: 79% approve 16% disapprove

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Monday, December 06, 2010


As in not even a little bit. driftglass
None of this is new.

None of this is unexpected.

We fight this same machine-with-human-features, over and over and over again.

This time it calls itself "The Republican Party", "The Conservative Movement" or simply "The Right.

Next time, it will call itself something else.
I think it's time they take a traditional approach and bring back "Tory." Or "Confederate."

Or "Know-Nothing." I think they'd wear that one with particular pride. It certainly fits.

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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Happy Apple Cup AM!

A random ten to commemorate the impending Husky victory and bowl bid...
Widespread Panic - Aunt Avis
Tompall Glaser - Put Another Log On The Fire
Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis - Night Life
Jimmie Rodgers - Miss The Mississippi And You
Antony & Bryce Dessner - I Was Young When I Left Home
Lulu - He's Sure The Boy I Love
Taj Mahal - My Creole Belle
Mutual Admiration Society - Brother Wind
Roger Miller - Kansas City Star
Neko Case - John Saw That Number
and a not so random bonus...
Bobby Bare - Dropkick Me Jesus (Through The Goalposts Of Life)
Go Dawgs!

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Friday, December 03, 2010

That means you…

...and you and you and you. And me, too. Darryl explains...
The house bill passed tax cuts for ALL tax payers. Under the bill, if you file as single, you receive a tax cut on the first $20,000 $200,000 of income. If you file as married, you get a tax cut on the first $25,000 $250,000 of your income. Even individuals with multi-multi gazillion dollar incomes receive this tax cut on their first $20,000. The cuts are for all who pay taxes, not just for the middle class.
Yep, even you.

(Numbers adjusted per comment. Thanks!)

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

From the "It's not the things you don't know…" file.

One of the things Andrew Sullivan "knows" isn't so…
I know it is the opposition's role to oppose.
To be fair, it's true enough in a tautological sense, and might be true in a country with a parliamentary system, but there's no role for an opposition in the Constitutional framework of the United States government.

It was a common complaint under Bush II that the Democrats weren't firm enough in opposition, and it's been a similarly common to complain that the Republicans have been overly aggressive in their opposition of late.

Both complaints derive from a common root - Democrats embrace the principles of Constitutional goveequarnment Republicans don't. Those principles don't include partisan opposition for its own sake. They don't, if fact, include partisan opposition at all. The conflict outlined in the Constitution is between the co-equal branches of government, not between parties, or, as the framers put it, "factions," within the branches.

In fact, though factions formed and transformed into parties before the framer's eyes, they were largely successful in suppressing the impact of partisanship by establishing a Democratic hegemony that lasted from 1800, with the election of Thomas Jefferson, through the historical Era Of Good Feeling, when the Federalists withered to near non-existence, until William Henry Harrison left office in 1844. The counter-revolution that invigorated partisanship culminated in attempted secession and civil war.

It's noteworthy that the counter-revolution that inspires current Republican hyper-partisanship has likewise been accompanied by threats of civil war and secession, not only from cranks but from elected leaders and nominees of the Republican Party. Their extra-Constitutional stance as an "opposition" not only within the bodies to which they've been elected, but to the Executive branch, puts them in the position of officially opposing the effective administration of Constitutional government. It may not be treason, but it's certainly un-American and likely an impeachable violation of their oaths of office.

The Constitution makes no provision for the kind of opposition the Republican Party offers, and the Democratic Party deserves appreciation, if not applause, to the degree that it declines to emulate them when the executive or the legislative majority is of another party. The simple if not easy solution is for the Republican Party to follow the fate of their similarly Constitutional-ly unnecessary forbearers, the Federalists, Whigs, Prohibitionists and Know-Nothings, and disappear.

Whenever I go on one of my "every Republican must go" kicks, there's feedback to the effect that we somehow need two strong parties. Nonsense. Whenever two strong parties have emerged in American history the Constitution has been threatened. What we need is robust debate, and the Democratic Party's tent is big enough to provide that debate. Since the Constitution is a fundamentally liberal document, the Democratic Party is an inherently liberal institution, but that ideological liberalism is inclusive of a temperamental conservatism which Sullivan defines well as...
...a disposition that respects the institutions and traditions of government, that can give as well as take, that seeks the national interest before partisan concerns, and that respects both the other branches of government and seeks to work with them.
I think that kind of disposition informs the ideas of many "Blue Dog" or "New Democrat"-style conservatives, and while I'd rather not see them prevail on most questions, I understand that people can hold different (as ins "wrong") views than my own in good faith.

That's not true of the ideological Movement Conservatism at the core of today's Republican Party. On this point. Sully's right on...
These people are not conservatives in this core civilized sense; they are partisan vandals.
Regardless of their pseudo-patriotic rhetoric, the object of their vandalism is the Constitution. We don't need 'em.

Like I always say sometimes...

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Quote of the Day.

Admiral Michael "Mike" Mullen, US Navy, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff, on DADT repeal...
I would not recommend repeal of this law if I did not believe in my soul that it was the right thing to do for our military, for our nation and for our collective honor.
Aye, aye, Sir!

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Hag Sameach, ya'll!

I'm not much of a language scholar, but I think that's Yiddish for "Pass the jelly doughnuts!"

Happy Holidays to the tribe.

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Yes, it is.

Minstrel Boy...
The main purpose of government secrecy is to protect the government from you.
It's instructive that the greatest threat posed by the recent WikiLeaks document dump was the risk of international embarrassment. Embarrassment, of course, is a manifestation of shame.

In other words, the concern was that shameful things done in the name of our country would be exposed, not to the people we did shameful things to or said shameful things about. They know who we are and what we did.

The shameful things done on our behalf would be exposed to us.

What a shame.

There's an easy fix. Government officials who don't want to be embarrassed shouldn't do things they're ashamed of. Government officials who do things they're ashamed of should be found out and turned out.

Seems to me that having a government that doesn't do shameful things should be one of the ways that America is exceptional.

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Not that there's anything wrong with it…

According to a Hotline review of records compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste, the 52 members of the (Congressional Tea Party Caucus), which pledges to cut spending and reduce the size of government, requested a total of 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150 during Fiscal Year 2010, the last year for which records are available.
OK, there is something wrong with it, but it's the hypocrisy, not the earmarks.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

When she's right…

…Maria can be "very very" right. Like this
In the caucus meeting, Reid discussed DREAM Act, and according to a Democratic source, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) was "very very vocal" in telling the other lawmakers that they need to make the vote a priority.
Thanks, Senator.

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Like a tree planted by the water…

…she would not be moved. Thank you, Rosa Parks.

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