Sunday, July 31, 2005

...and the beat goes on.

It has been 751 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

…it smells like victory.

Bob Brigham breaks the big news on the Hackett campaign in OH-2. Stirling Newberry sums it up nicely.
Hackett has made "The Culture of Corruption" the big issue, and this morning Jean Schmidt walked into it. She claimed not to know Tom Noe. However, as the minutes approved on March 21st, 2002 show that Noe was on the Ohio Regents when Jean Schmidt testified before the Regents on the morning of 21st March, and was on a retreat with "the Ohio Regents" the day before.
We could win this one. Amazing, really.

Max Cleland was on hand to connect the dots that are slowly becoming the picture of a bellweather campaign...
"The odor of corruption not only comes out of Tom DeLay's office, it also comes out of Columbus."
Well, there and the White House, of course.

What did that Kerry fella say? Something about the most crooked bunch of liars...

This is Major Bob to ground control...

...There is a Supreme Court seat in play, a UN nomination in stasis, death in the Sudan, death in London, and a few things occurring in Afghanistan and here, and our national news stations choose to run stories on the death of a privileged 18-year old? Here's an idea, if these stations are so short of news: Come here. Send an additional 5-15 reporters and cameramen. We have plenty of 18, 19, 20...25, 35, and 45 year-olds dying every day or three. Pick some. Tell their stories to America. Learn who they were before they came here. Follow up on the latest developments in their units. See how their buddies are doing. Interview (when they are ready, if they ever are ready) their parents, spouses, children. Find out who killed them. (Was it Sunni extremists, former Ba'ath party leaders, common criminals, Syrian provocateurs, jihadists...) Help America understand that we are, no kidding, at war.

And try to do it without Geraldo this time, ok? Please?

From Iraq, Bob Bateman.
No kidding.

Hat tip to Atrios.

And now...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

And the clock is running...

It has been 750 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Hat tip to Liberal Oasis.

Why be normal?

Just another weekend diversion...

You Are 40% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

(On) Air support for Major Hackett's campaign...

After and extended game of cat an mouse, which saw the NRCC jump in with a six figure campaign to demean an Iraq vet's service and character (they really do hate the troops, you know) in response to the money Paul Hackett was raking in from the netroots, the DCCC unveiled it's own independent spot tying Hackett's opponent to the culture of corruption that infest Ohio Republicanism from Governor Taft on down. There's yet another six figure media buy to go with it.

The DCCC's been doing it's work for Hackett under the radar, hoping to avoid attracting a Republican response. Their plan was foiled in a way - in the nicest way, really - when Democrats across the country started sending Hackett money like he had a chance, and as the money arrived, his chances improved geometrically. He's going into the last weekend of the campaign polling within the margin of error in a district where Democratic candidates traditionally poll in the 30s.

Here, via The Stakeholder, is the Hotline's late take on the race...
As of deadline, both the NRCC and DCCC are now in with last minute six figure mail and TV buys…

...Hackett's a unique candidate who has used his Iraq war veteran status to raise a decent amount of blogosphere money. The NRCC didn't want to see Schmidt caught off guard (apparently the campaign's been slow to respond to Hackett's negatives). The DCCC didn't want to go in too soon prompting an earlier entry by the NRCC. It's hard to fathom how the GOP loses. Still, it's a special in August and crazy things can happen.
Actually, it's not that hard to fathom. 'Crazy' things happen when we all work hard, and work together.

Let's get crazy!

Keep your friends close…

…and your enemies in your sights. Bill Scher gets it...
The CAFTA vote this week is not the first bad thing and won't be the last.

But the vote may turn out to be a good thing politically, if we handle the aftermath correctly.

How might we handle it incorrectly? If we spend most of our energy lambasting the 15 Dem defectors in the House and the 10 in the Senate.

Those 25 Dems share some responsibility of course.

But it’s the 248 House and Senate Republicans that compromised the bulk of the CAFTA vote that share the most.

Ten more... random.
1. Judy Collins - Masters Of War
2. Dixie Cups - People Say
3. Gill Scott Heron - The Bottle
4. Johnny Cash - I Won't Back Down
5. Donovan w/Joan Baez - Catch The Wind
6. Ma Rainey - See See Ryder
7. The Drifters - This Magic Moment
8. Dan Seals - Bop
9. Everyly Brothers - Wake Up, Little Suzie
10. Carrie Newcomer - Straight To The Point
...couple pretty hip items in there...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Hot day, cool cement...

...and the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat assumes the position...

Convention Wrap-Up

Like a lot of regular features around here, my coverage of Oregon AFL-CIO President Tim Sweeney's daily blog from the AFL-CIO convention has slipped a bit, the result of an erratic work schedule and deadline pressure's in other arenas (yeah, Deej, I'm working on it) It's all here, though, a remarkable document, really, of the thoughts and impressions of a labor leader at a historic time.

Some clips from the closing days...
Castigating the decision of the Teamsters and SEIU to disaffiliate from the AFL-CIO won’t answer the question about the better path to follow to rebuild the union movement. Those unions say they have a better way to organize themselves to organize more workers and restore the American dream, and they may still get more unions to join them in that effort. The AFL-CIO unions are reorganizing themselves for the same goals and will leave this convention with renewed, if sometimes angry, determination. May they both succeed.


Convention delegates approved a reduction in the size of the AFL-CIO’s governing board that removed eight seats previously held by the four unions – SEIU, the Teamsters, UFCW and UNITE/HERE. But they also allowed those seats to be reactivated if any of those unions return to the fold during the next four years. Think of chairs stacked in the closet next to the meeting room. At least the AFL-CIO will be ready if any of the missing unions return.


“I worked with all of the unions in the ‘Change to Win’ group over the years,” Hill added. “I respect them for their roles in forcing the debate…over the present state of the labor movement…Our door should always be open…Let us firmly stand as one for the mutual benefit of people whose very lives depend of our solidarity.”

Ed Hill, President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)


“No union, no middle class; it’s that simple.”

John Sweeney, AFL-CIO President


We can be proud of the changes made by the AFL-CIO at this convention...If this is a house, it was rewired and rehabilitated.


The break-away unions wished the AFL-CIO success as they walked out the door. The AFL-CIO let them know the door remains open for their return. Now, we will see if “the split” fosters a healthy rivalry or destructive competition, whether the new alliances of unions will strive to outdo each other or undo each other, and whether they can continue to make common cause at the local level, where some of our most critical political battles lie ahead.
It's all good, though, and a careful reading will doubtless teach most folks more than they know about labor's present condition and future promise.

I'm disappointed…

…of course, with the passage of CAFTA, and especially with the fifteen Democrats who broke partisan ranks and led to the agreement's final passage. I'm particularly disappointed to see the name of the upper left's own Norm Dicks on the list of fifteen, but not, I suppose, particularly surprised.

One thing you have to keep in mind is where he's from. Dicks' district has lost a lot of jobs in industries like logging, fishing and millwork. Today, the battle cry that's made him consistent favorite for reelection - 'Norm Dicks Works For Jobs' - means that he works as hard as he can, and cuts any deal he must, to protect the military bases and the federal and port jobs left in his district. With a major container port, another port primarily occupied with ship building and repair and all the associated trade-related employment in WA-6, the parochial pressures on Dicks ultimately, if unfortunately, overwhelmed the partisan pressures.

Of course, there are various voices calling for various sanctions against the offending fifteen. Minority Leader Pelosi has raised "the likelihood that defectors' committee assignments would be reviewed at tonight’s meeting of the Steering Committee." Elsewhere, there's grumbling about withholding donations to Dicks & co., or mounting primary challenges as punishment for their CAFTA votes.

Frankly, it's hard to imagine anyone mounting a successful primary challenge to Bremerton's favorite son, the former Husky football hero and porkmeister supreme for the people of the 6th for over a quarter of a century. Outside the possibility of caucus sanctions of some sort, it's unlikely that Norm's going to pay any real political price for his CAFTA vote, and that vote's actually going to sound like a pretty good one to a lot of the home folks.

In the end, I expect Norm Dicks, CAFTA or not, will be on the November ballot in '06, and I expect he'll win. Overall, I think that's a good thing. Take a look at the record. I'll take a whole House full of folks with an 85% record of supporting Americans For Democratic Action and learn to live with it. And CAFTA or not, I'm betting the AFL-CIO would settle for a Congress full of folks who only vote with them 93% of the time.

Norm Dicks and his 'free' trading friends were wrong on CAFTA, and there's nothing wrong with saying so, but the solution to our problems isn't throwing over 15 Democrats, it's electing 50 more.

Hammer. Nail.


Thudfactor pounds the point home...
I don’t need to look at Robert’s record, all I need to do is look at Bush’s. When has Bush’s promises of being a center-focused, bipartisan uniter been anything other than the leaf-and-twig cover of a punji pit? Anyone who honestly thinks this administration deserves a fair hearing of any of their policies needs their head examined.
Bush won't nominate anyone who any Democratic President would choose, so there's no reason for any Democrat to support his choice. He's done nothing to earn our indulgence. That's all we need to know.

Hackett for Congress

Gilliard has a good summary (and more) on the campaign in OH-2...

RNC Dumping Cash into Race - Considering that this race should be a cakewalk for Schmidt, that's a sign they are truly terrified. Not clear how much, but looks to be in the six figures. Trying to match our ActBlue scratch, no doubt.

Republican Group Calls for Election BOYCOTT - Damn, talk about the "Shooting Yourself in the Foot" department. Please, conservatives, take this group's advice!

The Hackett Campaign Needs Volunteers - E-mail to VOLUNTEER@HACKETTFORCONGRESS.COM. Housing is available.

NRCC Poll Shows Hackett Down Just FIVE? - This is according to Tim, and is truly stunning news. No Dem has received more than 30% of the vote in this district in the past two decades. If this poll story is true, that's amazing.

Dayton Daily News Endorses Hackett - Another area newspaper comes through for our man.

Swift-Boating of Paul Hackett Kicks into High Gear - As Atrios says, these chickenhawks have real contempt for those who actually have served in our nation's military. Disgusting.
…which led me here, a space deserving every Democrat's attention for the next few days.

Whassat behind yer back, son?

Folders? Full of records? Can we see? No? Mmmmmmkay.

It's been more than slightly interesting watching President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts, Jr., develop a sudden case of amnesia right before our eyes. Many people thought he looked too good to be true, though if you searched long enough there were plenty of warning signs to be found. But nothing indicating amnesia. Except, maybe, that he worked in the Reagan White House at a time when folks, including Dutch himself, suddenly "couldn't recall" a durned thing. Man, that really lingers, donnit?

What he doesn't remember, of course, is that he was listed in the 1997-98 leadership directory of the ridiculously conservative Federalist Society. In fact, he's listed as a member of the STEERING committee. I'm only four years younger than Mr. Roberts, I've belonged to many teams and organizations, and I remember my two and a half hours in the Cub Scouts in 1969. He doesn't remember this? Bullpucky.

Now it turns out he was told to say he forgot that. Told by a group of people, including Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex). The nominee, who was part of the leadership of an organization dedicated, in part, to dragging judges to the right, was taking advice from one of the Senators who started the "Judges are out of control" campaign? Yes, yes, let's confirm him quickly.

The guy is hiding things, and he's showing, from the word go, that honesty isn't something he holds dear. And where there is no honesty there can be no Justice.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I want one too!

A First Lady with common sense, a dedication to liberty and the courage to express them, that is...
Cherie Blair yesterday made an extraordinary criticism of her husband's government as she called for the judiciary to stand up to the 'hurly-burly of majoritarian politics' in the war on terror.

Judges, she said, should resist political pressure over the conviction of suspected extremists and uphold human rights legislation.

She spoke as Mr Blair was making the opposite case, recounting how judges had thwarted his attempts to throw out extremists and complaining that 'we still have not woken up to what this thing is about.'
Pardon me while I swoon.

(Via, like so much of the good stuff, James Wolcott.)

The lineup…

The lineup…

They've come up with a new line of succession, slotting the Homeland Security chief at number eight. Of course, if we ever got to number eight, you'd think it was pretty clear evidence that the Homeland Security Secretary was somewhat incompetent at his present task, let alone a higher one. Here's the new list...
· Vice President Dick Cheney
· House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
· Senate President Pro Tem Ted Stevens (R-AK)
· Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
· Treasury Secretary John Snow
· Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
· Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
· Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
· Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton
· Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns
· Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez
· Labor Secretary Elaine Chao
· Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt
· Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson
· Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta
· Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman
· Education Secretary Margaret Spellings
· Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson

Gutierrez and Chao are ineligible, of course, for being foreign born (Cuba and Taiwan respectively). I'm left wondering though, how, in the relentlessly partisan atmosphere of the Bush White House, Secretaries Bodman, Spellings and Nicholson feel about being plugged in below the only Democrat on the list. Doesn't sound much like a vote of confidence, does it?

No surprise to find Veterans Affairs at the bottom of the list, though. After all, Bush hates veterans...

Hat tip to Terry Turner

The General…

…as always, heterosexually yours.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

What's really the matter…

…with Kansas. Sunflower State native Laura Rozen explains it all (well, a good bit of it, anyway) for you...
A transformation Kansas has experienced in a big way. In short, the Christian far right very savvily runs someone for every single vacant seat, every primary, dog catcher, school board, you name it, again and again, whereas nobody I know from high school in moderate Johnson County is running for anything.
…and don't think it can't happen here. That's why Carl Ballard's timely advice is worth the attention of upper lefties. Filing for a whole raft of boards, commissions and local offices - glamorous posts with fire, water and sewer districts that actually affect the quality of people's lives - closes Friday. Some of these races may end up with no filings, and sometimes the first name on the list will ward off challenges. There's a chance to build our Democratic farm team by picking off some low hanging political fruit.

What are you running for? Having made a stab at the Legislature and a couple of Parks Board runs, I can say it's instructive, at the very least, and a blast on the best days...

Matt's right…

…it really comes down to this
Democrats are not co-equal partners in running the government, and they have no obligation to try to reach compromises or accommodations with the people who, at the moment, have all the power and, therefore, all the responsibility. Instead, their duty is simply to make it clear where they stand -- say what kind of justice they would like to see, explain why Roberts is not that justice, vote "no," and hope to gain some measure of political power before too many more bad things happen.
No heroic efforts reqiured, just vote no and get on about the business of ending the war, hanging Rove by his heels, winning some elections and such like...

It's the same old song...

…to those who've been paying attention, but over at The Democratic Daily, Ron Chusid notes that there are some new voices in the chorus...
...Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, even said that he “objected to the use of the term ‘war on terrorism’ before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution.”

This sounds like the type of talk which Dick Cheney and other Republicans regularly attacked John Kerry for during last year’s campaign. It’s good that they are beginning to realize the importance of the battle for hearts and minds. Now if they would only learn that, when the United States is attacked, we should respond by going to war against those who actually attacked us.

(my emphasis)
And, yep, there's that Kerry fella again...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Maybe he was just a Major…

…in the Marine Corps, but Iraq vet and Congressional candidate Paul Hackett gets my vote for at least full bird in OYE...
"The only way I know how to support the troops is by going over there...All the chicken hawks back here who said, 'Oh, Iraq is talking bad about us. They're going to threaten us' -- look, if you really believe that, you leave your wife and three kids and go sign up for the Army or Marines and go over there and fight. Otherwise, shut your mouth."

If I lived in OH-2, he'd get my vote for Congress, too. Learn more and help here...

I'm not really sure…

…what to make of this snip from Political Wire
With the support of Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Democrats are encouraging DNC Chairman Howard Dean to "establish an official relationship with Democrats for Life, an anti-abortion-rights group that the DNC has previously shunned..."
…but it does seem to beg the question, which Democrats, exactly, are against life?

I'm a big tent kinda guy myself, but if they really want to be our friends, wouldn't it help to drop the language of the enemy?

What's it all about, AFL…

Tim Nesbitt illuminates the split in organized labor by comparing the convention of the AFL-CIO to a national constitutional convention...
...we just learned that four states decided not to send delegates, and two of those states decided to set up their own government. So it appears that our unions will soon have two models of governance to choose from.

The AFL-CIO model will remain a coalition of independent unions. But, if resolutions recommended by its Executive Council are approved at this convention, it should become more effective at coaxing unions into more cooperative models for organizing and bargaining via industry councils.

The “Change to Win” model is still to be seen. If its unions (states) can agree on their jurisdiction (boundaries), they can avoid the disagreements that arise from decades of uncoordinated organizing activity, even if they remain independent. And, they can easily find opportunities to showcase cooperative organizing efforts in industries where they have complimentary interests.
If the CTW unions can find those cooperative organizing efforts, more power to them, but there's little in recent or deeper history to instill much confidence in that outcome. My view of the Teamsters continues to be colored by their behavior during their last sojourn outside the folds of the AFL-CIO when they attempted to break the United Farmworkers Union via sweetheart contracts with California growers. Locally, we've seen the SEIU move hard on the Operating Engineers traditional turf.

It's important to remember,too, that the root conflict in the current split comes from an attempt by a few big unions to put forward a new model of organization that would eliminate many independent Internationals, pouring smaller fish down the craw of the bigger. In fact, in many respects, the CTW proposals seem anti-democratic on their face, so it's little wonder that they have cast aside any pretense of respect for democracy in the AFL-CIO, spurning the will of the majority by walking away, essentially telling their brothers and sisters in the House of Labor that "We're going to take your ball and go home."

Over at The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel strikes a more hopeful note than I can muster, though I guess I hope her optimism proves justified, but I agree with this...
I don't think this split was necessary, and still think it would have been best for the state of progressive politics if both sides could have worked out a deal on federation reform and leadership transition. (Why didn't the insurgents run a candidate to contest John Sweeney? Why didn't they try to move an agenda from within?)

She lays the blame for the collapse of solidarity on an excess of testosterone. It's a suitably feminist response, I suppose, but the whole CTW tantrum seems to infantile to lay off on a post-pubescent hormone…

Monday, July 25, 2005

"McCain's disgrace…"

Jesse Lee's got the full meal deal. Here's a snack.
I trust this president. I believe that he will do the right thing.

Everybody sing! "Solidarity For…

…fifty years…"

The Change To Win faction in the AFL-CIO is now officially out. Four international unions have opted out of the convention, and at least one, the Teamsters, has confirmed that it will be leaving the Federation.

Tim Nesbitt, representing the Oregon AFL-CIO at the convention, makes a good point...
...I had hoped that the “Change to Win” unions would participate in the convention to carry forward the debate about the future of our union movement. After all, they started that debate, which is just beginning to register with union members and working people who care about what’s happening to their jobs in this country. So why back out of the debate now?

But, four of the “Change to Win” unions (SEIU, the Teamsters, UFCW and UNITE/HERE) decided today that they’re not going to participate in the convention.
It's pretty hard to figure out the reasoning behind the proposition that working people are stronger when they're divided. Seems contrary to the whole point of unions in the first place for me. Of course, Jimmy Hoffa leading the Teamsters out of the AFL-CIO isn't anything particularly new. The SEIU leadership revealed it's willingness to seek advantage through political division in the '04 primaries, so that's not too shocking. UFCW is scared stiff by the specter of Walmart, so I could understand some irrational behavior there. I don't know what UNITE/HERE's particular issues might be, and I'm wondering what happened to the Laborers, who I've generally seen mentioned with the Change To Win unions.

I'm not sure what it will all mean yet (who is?) but I don't really see much good coming from this.

Not a good day for labor, I'm afraid. Not a good day for Democrats, either.

No matter how much they insist…

…that this...
The Army's top personnel officer acknowledged this week that the service will probably miss its recruiting goal this year…
…is all about this… improving economy, competition from private industry and an increasing number of parents who are less supportive of military service…
…I can't help thinking it must have something to do with this
Despite months of assurances that their forces were on the wane, the guerrillas and terrorists battling the American-backed enterprise here appear to be growing more violent, more resilient and more sophisticated than ever.
I mean, how dumb do they think the working class kids they look to for fodder really are?

Of course, the solution is obvious…

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Self Service Announcement

Pretty cool, huh?

Well, I think so. I know it's middlin' in the lefty blogosphere, at best, but when I cranked this thing up 19 months or so ago, I had no idea that it would produce anything like 100,000 visits by now. I remember not so very long ago getting pretty excited about my first 20 hit day.

Anyway, 100,000 thanks to everyone who's dropped by, linked in, dropped a note or been a part of this party in any way. Special regards to the visitor from Groton (MA? CT? It's Charter New England, so I suppose it isn't Groton, SD. Hopefully you know who you are...and where) who dropped in this afternoon and turned over the hit counter exactly when I could catch it on screen.

Here's to the next how many...

Early Endorsement

Run, Carl, Run!

And now...

As promised…

…a periodic look at the musings of Tim Nesbitt, Oregon Labor Federation Prez, on the impending AFL-CIO Convention. He sets the stage...
As the convention approaches, it is clear that Sweeney has the votes for re-election. He controls the franchise in the form of the AFL-CIO name, assets and subsidiaries, which are our state federations and local labor councils. But he risks losing a critical portion of the AFL-CIO’s resources (close to 40%) if the “Change to Win” unions walk. And the “Change to Win” unions won’t just walk, because what they’ve been building as they prepare for their “strike” is beginning to look like a whole new labor federation.

…and the cast of characters. While the 400-plus delegates representing individual unions have taken up pretty clearly defined sides in either the Solidarity or the Change To Win camp, Nesbitt contrasts them with...
...the 400 or so union members who are here representing state federations and local labor councils. Few of these delegates were wearing any union’s tee-shirts at the pre-convention conferences today. And many, including me, are still deciding what amendments and resolutions we’ll support.
Maybe it's because the issues hit a little closer to home for the federation folks...
Should these unions leave the AFL-CIO, our state federations and labor councils will have to find a way to reorganize themselves to maintain the participation of all unions at the local level. Stern says that his union is willing to continue to participate in the AFL-CIO’s labor councils and state federations even if they disaffiliate at the national level. But Sweeney calls that approach “pick and choose solidarity.” So, if our unions divide into two separate federations at the national level, can they agree to work together at the local level?
My personal fear is that the advocates for division in the Change To Win coalition fancy a revival of the glory days of the CIO. Certainly the 20 years between the CIO's break from the AFL and their subsequent reunion saw dramatic changes in the labor climate and dramatic gains for workers, but when 1935 is your benchmark, it's not at all clear that we could repeat those achievements. We might as likely recreate the original conditions that made them possible.

It's good to get some perspective from an well informed, open-minded, intimately involved source. If you're interested at all in labor issues, Nesbitt's blog is essential reading for at least the next few days.

OK, then…

John Roberts will be confirmed. Democrats shouldn't vote for him.

Just because that's pretty much all I have to say on the subject doesn't mean that that's all there is to say, though. If you're looking for news and information about the nomination process and this nominee that Terry Turner doesn't have a link to it here, you must be a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Stories like this...

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has attacked violent video games as "a silent epidemic" among children, said she wants a federal investigation into one of the most popular, "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas."
…and this…
Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton, and Tom Vilsack are all dutifully trecking to Ohio to worship at the altar of the "vital center" ...
…and this...
While privacy advocates question their effectiveness, Sen. Hillary Clinton called for New York City subway officials to install more cameras, even though officials said some 5,000 cameras are already in use across all modes of city travel.
…leave me wondering what makes anyone think that Hillary Clinton is anything but Joe Lieberman in a skirt.

Granted, the outrageous level of criticism and abuse she's suffered at the hands of destructionist Republicans motivates many of us to come to her defense, can't we at least be clear about what we're defending? Despite the spurious claims of some kind of move to the right in anticipation of a Presidential campaign, Hillary is what she's always been - moderate in some things, reactionary in others and anything like 'progressive' on only the narrowest range of issues.

Although it's quite early, and I still don't believe she'll ultimately run, the first step toward '08 is to decide what, more importantly, perhaps, than who, we want a Democratic nominee to be. You want someone unashamed to promote a progressive agenda? Someone willing risk being labeled 'liberal'?

Well, you may not want Senator Clinton...

Before my sudden disappearance...

...on a mission of familial obligation, I was going to offer some counsel to any Democratic Senator hoping to appear 'moderate' by being foolish.

Is John Roberts someone that a Democratic President would nominate?

If not, vote no.

It's that simple.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Remember that Kerry fella?

Well, he's been dropping some strong reminders in Democratic Party circles that he's still around. Via Political Wire...
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) "has spent the last seven months raising millions of dollars for Democrats across the country," the AP reports. "Kerry has either contributed or raised more than $4.3 million for candidates and congressional committees since the beginning of the year."
While everybody's ga-ga over Hillary raising six million or so for herself, raising four and a half or so for other people is some pretty strong mojo.

John Kerry was arguably the financial difference, in both the recount and defense costs, in the Washington state party's ability to successfully defend Governor Gregoire's victory. That matters to a lot of people. That matters to me.

Of course, as the Democratic champ in the Presidential fundraising history, that Kerry fella's no slouch at filling his own coffers, either…

From the 'couldn't have said it better' department…

Lindsay Beyerstein on the Roberts nomination...
It's really very simple. If you're a Democratic senator, you don't vote for the John Roberts because he's not the kind of person you want on the Supreme Court.

"…a sense of controlled panic…"

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tim Nesbitt will be blogging the AFL-CIO Convention, and I'm looking forward to his dispatches. In preparation, he offers an opening salvo that identifies the divisions without clarifying (to me, at least) his personal disposition. Still, he's straightforward about the issues and opportunities facing the labor movement…
Usually, at these conventions, we celebrate our successes. This time, we will acknowledge our failures and address the gathering threats to our movement. There is a sense of controlled panic that surrounds this convention...
I've had trouble covering this story, because I've been conflicted about where I stand. On the one hand, any division in the House of Labor is distressing. 'Solidarity Forever' and all that. On the other hand, the AFL-CIO is hyphenated for a reason. Division is hardly a new phenomenon for labor, politically, strategically or structurally. It's certainly hard to argue that what we've got now is working very well, but 'what else?' is a big question.

This convention may be a landmark event in American labor history, and I'll be checking in on Nesbitt's reactions regularly.

Hat tip to Blue Oregon.

I got it…

…from the General, who snagged it from the Admiral

The Battle Hymn of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders
(Sung to the tune of the Marine Corps Hymn)

'tween the walls of mommy's basement
On the floors our spunk has stained
We fight our fights through proxy
With a mouse, keyboard, and brain
First to call for wars of freedom
Policies that kill the poor
We'll do the least that we can do
And fight with our keyboard.

Our George was safe - he made the Guard
And Rush had a sore ass;
Deferments saved Dick's butt five times
But not the working class;
In the dorms of far-off college quads
A light year from the war
You will find us cursin' Democrats
One Hundred-One Keyboards.

There's beer for us and guns for them
And each one has a role;
We're many so glib, we'll flame a Lib,
As warfare takes its toll;
If the Army and the Navy
Are understaffed in war;
Go find another place to turn
We're the One Oh One Keyboards.

It's In The P.I.

With yet another example demonstrating the need to save Seattle's best daily from their predatory 'partner,' the Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial page cuts to the heart of the Rove affair...
Viewed in the best light, Rove was engaged in leaking information about national security for the political purpose of making the president's sales pitch for the Iraqi invasion appear to have been honest. Whether Rove did anything illegal, he did exactly what the White House repeatedly said he had never done. Rove offered the media information about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the administration's attempts to connect Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction. And Rove's conduct met the standard for removal from his post that the president laid down in 2004 when he promised to fire anyone involved in the leak.
…and offers a pretty neat compare and contrast the of Buscho™ internal policies and their prescription for American education...
Schoolchildren, take note. There will still be high standards for you, your teachers and your schools. But at the White House, the rule is a little different: No pal left behind. Unless, of course, he is an out-and-out criminal. That's quite a standard.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Oh yeah…

Karl Rove leaked a CIA agent to the press for political gain and here are eleven more things wrong with that...

Just a little further down the memory hole…

…we're closing in on 1800.

Amidst the hubub... haven't forgotten this, have you?
Karl Rove leaked a CIA agent to the press for political gain.
I didn't think so...

Once again…

...our friends in the fields need our help, and you don't really need anything from Gallo, do you?

Then say so.

Si, Se Puede!

Hat tip to David Sirota.

It's A Boy!

Sorry about the bubble gum, George, but if you want a decent cigar, you gotta give us a decent nominee

Of course, that's not going to happen. We've got a lousy President and a lousy Senate majority and the price we pay is lousy judges and justices. The fact that John Roberts may not be the worst possible choice doesn't mean he's an acceptable choice from a Democratic perspective. He's a bad choice and, barring some pretty stunning revelations from somewhere or someone, he's going to be a Supreme Court Justice. Oh sure, we could invest all the opposition energy we could muster and maybe get around him, but as Shakespeare's Sister points out, "Behind Roberts, there are 10 more waiting just like him, or worse. More and more and more of the same—until we stop them in their tracks."

Problem is, of course, that the place to stop them is the polls, and there's time for plenty of damage to be done while we wait. In the meantime, I think the soundest advice I've seen comes from Steve Soto.
Harry Reid should make sure that the Democrats make Roberts explain everything and go on the record with his views to the degree possible. They should make the White House work for this one. Reid should keep as many votes in his column against Roberts as he can. And he should forget a filibuster and get this one behind him and get the focus back to more damaging issues for the White House. Why? Because the White House is expecting a long, attention-diverting fight on this nominee, a nominee that the GOP Senate knows they have the votes for already.
We're going to lost this one, and we're not going to like it, but there are plenty of fronts we can win on, and that's where our real battles should be waged.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The big news of the day,,,

...hasn't happened, and it'll be fairly old by the time I get back to a computer late tonight.

A woman, I guess. Laura wins (what's a good replacement for 'Billary'?).

I had it figured for Gonzales in a walk. I never win at the track, either.

Count me among them…

hat tip to Taegan Goddard
"Several Democrats" are encouraging former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) to run for lieutenant governor of Georgia against Ralph Reed...
Run, Max, run.

Monday, July 18, 2005

If the 'Generals on the ground'…

…are the best authority on troop strength in Iraq, wouldn't you figure the same standard would apply here at home?
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and a top National Guard officer yesterday decried the Pentagon's recommendation to transfer an F-15 fighter unit based in Portland across the country, asserting that the move would make the region less secure.

The move, proposed as part of a a national effort to close and realign bases, could endanger tens of thousands of lives in the Puget Sound, said Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, the Washington National Guard's adjutant general.

The decision that a federal commission is considering is whether to transfer 15 F-15s from the Air National Guard base in Portland -- leaving just two remaining to defend the Pacific Northwest.
Or maybe they just don't care…
Cantwell and Lowenberg said they and other top military or political leaders in the state hadn't been consulted before the Pentagon made its recommendation to the commission. The commission is set to hold hearings on the matter next week.
Maybe those of us who grew up in the era of air raid drills at school and NIKE sites on most every vacant lot are more mindful of it than some others, but this really is Ground Zero. Within a couple hours one way or another of my house is a major Army base, and Air Force base and a National Guard camp, all having featured roles in the Iraq adventure, along with a Navy Home Port, a Naval Air Station, a Trident submarine base and a gaggle of Coast Guard stations, major defense and security contractors and, of course, the stuff they don't tell us about. (At least, I kinda hope there's stuff they don't tell us about...)

Ground Zero.

Two planes.

Kudos to Senator Cantwell for caring…

Speaking of lists…

…over at Big Brass Blog, Shakespeare's Sister offers up the membership roster of the White House Information Group, formed in August 2002 by Chief of Staff Andrew Card “to set strategy for each stage of the confrontation with Baghdad” and “to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities.”

Here's the list, with the names of WHIG members who have also been called before the federal grand jury at the behest of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitgerald...
Members met weekly in the Situation Room and included: Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Condi Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, and Nicholas E. Calio.
Fairly high level of crossover there, but what's really appalling is the amount of representation given to a gaggle of hacks like Rove, Hughes, Libby and Matalin. They seem to have little to offer in terms of regional expertise or policy expertise. The heart of the war plan has always been more political campaign than defense policy, and it's the product of some of the most legendary cheats, liars and double-dealers in the Republican Party.

A helpful reminder…

A helpful reminder…

…courtesy of pal o' Upper Left Chris Woods at The Political Forecast.
A list of those who've testified before the grand jury investigating the White House leak:
· Condoleezza Rice
· Karl Rove
· Lewis I. (Scooter) Libby
· Mary Matalin
· Catherine Martin
· Scott McClellan
· Dan Bartlett
· Claire Buchan
· Adam Levine
· Ari Fleischer

There have interviews as well, done by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. They are:
· George W. Bush
· Dick Cheney
· Colin L. Powell
Hell, indict 'em all, let a judge sort 'em out.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Time has come today....

Kid Oakland issues the call.
Friends, if there was ever a moment to be a proud, screaming, and yes, unreasonable liberal in this country...that time is now.
The destructionist cult must fall, before the country as we know it takes the tumble.

Aw, c'mon…

Aw, c'mon…

…tell us what you really think, Duckman...
Frankly, they're the sum of the parts, the slimy, fetid, pustulent leaking cardboard box of them, the skeletel, blue-white arm of coulter dangling over the edge, the pasty faced doughboys like rover and newtie and denny and spinnin scottie hanging over that edge and vomiting their filth down the sides, the pompous, bleating lies echoing from the box from big time dick, robertson, limbaugh, hume, like the death rattles from the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition. All cut from the same smallpox infested cloth.
Definitely a rant worthy of repetition.

And now...

Gone from our company for over 40 years, Sam Rayburn still has much to teach us. For instance, regardless of what Mehlman may say, this remains as true as ever...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

As a resident of the 7th District, WA...

...I just want to say how pleased and proud I am that this signature...

is on this letter.

90 others join Rep. McDermott in calling on Karl Rove to come clean or quit. Look for your Congresscritter here.

Randomer and randomer...'s the latest list from the MP3 player...
1. Stories - Brother Louie
2. Ani Difranco - Wish I May
3. Jimi Hendrix - Love Love
4. Marcia Ball, Irma Thomas & Tracy Nelson - Shouldn't I Love Him
5. Peggy Seeger - Gonna Be An Engineer
6. Louis Prima & Keely Smith - Old Black Magic
7. Lloyd Price - Stagger Lee
8. Roy Head - Treat Her Right
9. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Money (That's What I Want)
10. Rod Stewart & Jeff Beck - People Get Ready

Friday, July 15, 2005

Don't miss…

Reason #2.

Fuggin A, man.

What else... there to do on a rainy day in July, wonders the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat...

I guess I'm not surprised…

…that Chief Justice Rehnquist seems determined to stay put. Based on nothing more than a hunch, really, that I've drawn based on a variety of Rehnquist's statements on the role of the courts, court security, etc., I think he's pretty uneasy about the prospects of George W. Bush picking his replacement.

Whatever disagreements I may have with Rehnquist, I will grant him one thing. He has a high regard for the institution to which he has devoted so much of his life. Even his self-designed robes, despite their apparent comic-opera origins, were an effort on his part to enhance the stature of the Court as much as his own position on it, I think. His principled defense of the Court's Constitutional role is an extension of what I see as a corresponding high regard for

Bushco™, on the other hand, has a clear disdain for the Supreme Court, the courts in general and the Constitution generally. They have a near total disregard for the courts as anything but another tool for the extension of political power, while in the Constitution, and in Rehnquist's view, the courts are anything but that.

In another context I recently mentioned the late Justice William O. Douglas. While his career was admirable in many respects, many remember him best for his apparently death-defying tenure, widely interpreted as an act of defiance against the idea of Richard Nixon naming his replacement. I don't know that Bill Rhenquist is committed to outlast the Bush administration, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that it's true.

I wouldn't be too surprised if he pulled it off, either. As Goldy points out…
...the U.S. Supreme Court has a well-deserved reputation as one of medical science’s most effective life-support systems.
Indeed, it do.

Sounds about right.

Ezra gets it.
When Mehlman goes before Southern whites and says it was wrong to use race as a wedge issue, then I'll buy his sincerity.
In fact, when he secures the resignation of every Republican Congresscritter who has built his career on some variation of the 'Southern Strategy' and recruits a new crop of candidates pledged to abandon it, then I'll buy his sincerity.

From the 'I'll have what he's having' file…

A deep hit, please, off whatever bong inspired George Howland's analysis of Dave Reichert's performance as a freshman Congresscritter. Writing about the emergence of Democrat Randy Gordon as a challenger in '06, George offers this...
...Reichert is an incumbent member of Congress who is off to a very impressive start. The former sheriff has demonstrated independence and guts as well as an ability to raise money. (emphasis in the original)
Guts? Well, I suppose there's a certain amount of courage required for Sheriff Dave to show his face in public after his vote to support the GOP leadership and cut the COPS funding he found so handy to keep his Green River operation going back in the day.

But independence? I'm not saying that Reichert was bought off by the $10,000 he took from Tom DeLay's ARMPAC, but his 95.24% record of voting with the Bugman does little to persuade me otherwise.

Letting Dave Reichert be passed off as 'independent' is like tagging John McCain as a 'moderate.' There's just nothing in the record to support either contention. The fact is, to remain in the Republican Party today means you're either a member of the destructionist cult or you're a toady for the destructionist cult. That's why…

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Once again, I'm indebted…

…to a fellow blogger for spotting the rare point of clarity in the output of the wingnut punditocracy. This time it's Carla at Preemptive Karma, who quotes Pat Buchanan's look at the research of terrorism authority Robert Pape...
What Pape is saying is that the neocons' "World War IV" – our invading Islamic countries to overthrow regimes and convert them into democracies – is suicidal, like stomping on an anthill so as not to be bitten by ants. It is the presence of U.S. troops in Islamic lands that is the progenitor of suicide terrorism.

Bush's cure for terrorism is a cause of the epidemic. The doctor is spreading the disease...
When they're right, they're right. Even when they're far right.

While the GOP flacks…

…weave an ever wider, ever weaker web of distraction, the DNC offers up the only talking point that matters
Karl Rove abused his security clearance and leaked the identity of a CIA operative for political retribution.
…and every reasonable American knows that's a firing offense, questions of criminality notwithstanding.

It's time for Karl to go.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Return of the son of the bride of…

Time to get my little chronicle of crime and corruption back on track. This time, I'm going to pass on the usual suspects in favor of a story from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina, which came my way via Majikthise
...Allen McNeely, head of the state Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health division, said the workers were lured into the arrest by a flier announcing a mandatory Occupational Safety and Health Administration meeting.

McNeely said one of the contractors who employed the immigrants faxed him a copy of the flier. It is printed in English and Spanish. It tells all contract workers to attend an OSHA briefing at the base theater and promises free coffee and doughnuts.

McNeely said that neither his division nor the federal OSHA was involved in the arrests. He said the trick has eroded trust between the Labor Department and the workers it is trying to keep safe.

In recent years, the Labor Department has made an effort to reach out to the state's thousands of immigrant workers, especially those in construction, because they are among the most likely to be killed or injured at work.
This is just so wrong in so many ways.

There's a federal agency stomping in without coordinating with the relevant state agencies, upending years of work to nab a few dozen low wage workers. Should those workers have been in the US, let alone on the job? Probably not. Are our borders more secure because North Carolina workplaces may be more dangerous? Not hardly.

There's the matter of a federal agency using fraud and entrapment in pursuit of its mission. Not to foil some spy movie scheme to destroy the world. Just to nab a few dozen mostly Central American laborers. Did the INS get, or even bother to seek, some kind of authority to pose as OSHA workers? If so, what other agencies are they using for cover? Can we be sure that any interaction with a federal worker isn't an interview with the INS?

And then there's the little matter of where those workers were, and how they got there in these days of heightened national security concerns…
Those arrested were employees of private contractors doing roofing, electrical, masonry and other construction work on the base. An investigation determined that they presented false documents when they entered the base, immigration officials said.
That just doesn't cut it. I'm pretty good at spotting a false ID, and I'm not protecting anything but the sanctity of the legal drinking age. We've got to do better at the gates of our military establishments than at the corner saloon. Who's in charge here?

Oh yeah.

Scary, that.

And a scandal, every bit of it.

With pals like the Prez…

…how can Karl lose?

The Preznit was firm in his support, saying "Karl has given me his personal assurances that he was not involved in any wrongdoing whatsoever, and he has my complete trust."

Wait, he didn't say that at all!

What he said was...
"This is a serious investigation. I will be more than happy to comment on this matter once this investigation is complete."
Yep, with pals like the Prez...

Trust the Rude One... cut to the heart of the matter with his Five Reasons Why Karl Needs To Be Destroyed. My personal fave is number 5...
Reason #5: Karl Rove Looks Like Famous Child Murderers

Karl Rove looks like a cross between Peter Lorre's kiddie killer in Fritz Lang's film M and famous smilin' on the outside, batshit insane on the inside serial killer/clown John Wayne Gacy.

Public Service Announcement

For those that just can't get enough, The Political Forecast is all over the Rove story. Lots of angles, lots of links and some pretty sharp insight.

Upper Left sez check it out.

Via an email correspondent…

…a more, ahem, anatomically correct frogmarch photo…

(thanks, Susan!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


…if you want to see this…

…don't forget this…

With calls for Congressional investigations in the air, Last Night in Little Rock offers some historical perspective at Talk Left
Congress's institutional memory may be too short. Remember Oliver North? He testified under compulsion at the Iran-Contra hearings and succeeded in excluding that evidence at retrial. United States v. North, 910 F.2d 843 (D.C.Cir. 1990).
The lesson (hopefully) learned…
...if you expect any one to prosecute, do not call the target as a witness and make him or her testify and compromise any prosecution. Back during Iran-Contra, I couldn't tell whether Congress was handing Oliver North a "get out of jail free" card, trying to get at the truth to embarrass the administration, or both.
Let's not screw this one up, OK?

Don't you just hate it…

…when somebody awful does something decent? In this case, I was almost driven to read a Robert Novak column, but thankfully Steve Benen did the dirty work at The Carpetbagger Report and serves up the relevant bits...
During an official Fourth of July celebration at the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson bumped into each other. They are both steadfast Republicans, devout Catholics and congenial gentlemen, but to onlookers, it looked like an uneasy encounter. That's because Smith was right about a $2.6 billion shortfall in veterans benefits, and Nicholson's Bush administration was wrong.

Being right can hurt in Washington. It drove Smith out of the House Veterans Affairs Committee chairmanship, and it now may cost him becoming International Relations chairman. Nicholson represents an administration that operates on the principle that being in power means never having to admit being wrong. There is no sign of any Bush official or House Republican leader apologizing to Smith.


DeLay found it intolerable that Smith functioned not as an obedient Republican soldier but as a fervent advocate of former U.S. foot soldiers. At the end of the last Congress, the DeLay-headed leadership purged Smith from the Veterans chairmanship and from the committee itself for wanting $2.6 billion more for the Veterans Administration.
Credit where it's due. Novak's on point this time. In the Bush/Delay edition of the Republican Party, loyalty to the leadership trumps loyalty to the troops, or loyalty to the nation itself, for that matter.

Of course, you could explain it in more straightforward terms.

They just hate veterans.

The already thin line…

…between being a liar and a thief seems to have dissolved completely in the presence of Dixiecrat throwback pal Zell Miller...
Miller "pocketed more than $60,000 in taxpayer funds earmarked for entertainment and other expenses at the Governor's Mansion." Miller "also picked up a check for more than $20,000 for 'unused leave' - a sum to which he was not entitled as a constitutional officer."
Just try plucking an extra 80k from your employer's checkbook. Why is this criminal still at large?

It's in the P.I.

The bottom line...and one more reason for progressive Seattle to protect their best daily from the predation of the Blethen gang over at the Times…
The president would bring credit to himself and his administration by firing Rove immediately. Whether or not Rove violated the law, his actions on behalf of the administration broke trust with the American people and with the president's own stated view of the matter. Minimally, enough is known that the president must suspend Rove and cease all contacts with Rove until the investigation is complete. Rove, it appears, cannot be trusted with the United States' secrets. (my emphasis)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Quote of the Day

"We're reaching the bottom of the barrel."

General Barry McCaffrey, US Army (retired), on the forces available for Bush's war in Iraq.

More good news…

…from the DNC Blog is that 'Kicking Ass,' the title known and loved by so many, is coming back. I guess I'm genetically encoded to find great omens in small things, but this lifts my spirits more than makes sense.

Fair is fair.

If I'm going to call the DNC Blog's Jesse Berney out when I think he's wrong, fairness dictates that I give him credit when he's absolutely right
But let's make one thing perfectly clear: Rove's secret outing of Valerie Plame put partisan politics above the security of our nation. He chose to reveal Plame's identity as a CIA agent, with no thought to the consequences to American national security, simply because it provided an opportunity to smear her husband.
Bravo! That's exactly the message I want coming out of the Democratic Party today, and it's a message that should be extended to the recognition that by his betrayal of our national security for base reasons, Rove has enrolled himself in that category of domestic enemies that George W. Bush is sworn to protect us against.

There was a vicious Bircher tract in wide circulation some years back titled "None Dare Call It Treason." Whatever its virtues - or lack thereof - its title still rings true, at least as far as the SCLM and most mainstream pols are concerned. But there's no word but treason for Rove's disregard for our national security while operating from the top levels of our government is, and none other for his continued employment by George W. Bush.

You may say I'm a dreamer...

...but I'm not the only one...

More stuff in the PM. See ya...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Another diversion…

…because, heck, it's Sunday, and other duties beckon.

You Are an Irish Coffee

At your best, you are: wild, spontaneous, and outgoing

At your worst, you are: too extreme and reckless

You drink coffee when: you want to keep drinking booze

Your caffeine addiction level: low

…caffeine addiction level: low.

I like that. I've been telling the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left that my 3 or 4 pot a day habit isn't really all that much for years now…

Just in case…

…you weren't sure if James Sensenbrenner hated the Constitution, there's this, via The Stakeholder
In an extraordinary move, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee privately demanded last month that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago change its decision in a narcotics case because he didn't believe a drug courier got a harsh enough prison term.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), in a five-page letter dated June 23 to Chief Judge Joel Flaum, asserted that a June 16 decision by a three-judge appeals court panel was wrong.

He demanded "a prompt response" as to what steps Flaum would take "to rectify the panel's actions" in a case where a drug courier in a Chicago police corruption case received a 97-month prison sentence instead of the at least 120 months required by a drug-conspiracy statute.
He demanded? Of a Federal Judge?

What part of 'separation of powers' don't you understand, Jim?

And what part of your oath remains to be defiled?


Armed with only…

…an oral biography of Sam Rayburn and Oliver's Brand Democrat template, here's our latest feature…

This week, the source of Democratic optimism…

Saturday, July 09, 2005

At last...

...a blog of their own.


…to a fine Democrat from the upper left, WA State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who got some positive attention from the New York Times in a piece which confirms what many have long suspected (my emphasis)...

A study to be released today by the Center for Justice and Democracy, a consumer advocacy group in New York, may add fuel to that debate. The study, compiled from regulatory filings by insurers to state regulators, finds that net claims for medical malpractice paid by 15 leading insurance companies have remained flat over the last five years, while net premiums have surged 120 percent.

From 2000 to 2004, the increase in premiums collected by the leading 15 medical malpractice insurance companies was 21 times the increase in the claims they paid, according to the study.
But they need all that premium cash because injured plaintiffs are constantly beating them up in court, right?

Well, no...
According to the association's data, collected on a voluntary basis by its membership, 70 percent of malpractice cases closed in 2003 were dismissed, 24 percent were settled, 5 percent were tried and found in favor of the defendant and 0.8 percent were settled in favor of the plaintiff.
The simple truth is that there's no way to get a handle on the health care crisis in the US without cutting the private insurers out of the deal. They're an industry based on fear, profiting from the spread of misinformation, adding nothing but expense to the actual care of patients.

Every new fact is another step in the long march to single payer heath care for Americans.

I've fallen a bit behind…

I've fallen a bit behind…

…in my scandal scorekeeping duties, but things should be back on track right soon now. Meantime, some of the best stuff of all is cropping up outside my self-defined boundaries of the D.C. Republicans.

If you don't believe that Tom DeLay is walking point for the whole damn Republican Party, making corruption just another checkpoint on the GOP 'to-do' list, take a look at the activity in some of the Governor's mansions they control. The Carpetbagger Report has a summary...
In Ohio, Gov. Bob Taft (R) is overwhelmed by charges of corruption; California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) seems to have become a magnet for controversy, and former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland (R) is currently behind bars.

And then there's Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R), who is up to his ears in a major scandal involving his administration's hiring practices. In fact, earlier this year, documents, including notes and emails, came to light that showed Fletcher's hiring decisions were based almost exclusively on partisanship and not individual qualifications — you got a job in state government if you're a Republican, whether you deserved it or not….
…and so forth.

Jeebus. Just when you think Republicans are hostile to trial lawyers, they start up this full employment program for the lucky litigators…

Back... our regularly scheduled diversion, another random ten.
1. Tom Paxton - What Did You Learn In School Today?
2. Frog Holler - Stray
3. Wanda Jackson - Fujiyama Mama
4. Jerry Garcia - Bird Song
5. Hank Williams - I Can't Help It
6. Rev. Gary Davis - Samson & Delilah
7. Rolling Stones - Stupid Girl
8. Velvet Underground - Sweet Jane
9. Mark Spoelstra - France Blues
10. Aerosmith - Walk This Way
Holds together pretty well, if the last song is a bit jarring in context. Nothing I'm ashamed of, though...

Correctly allocating blame

In the wake of the terrorist attack in London, many outraged Westerners are calling for all-out war against Muslims. The problem is, too many of these people are talking about ALL Muslims. That's right, the "nuke 'em till they twinkle" mentality is back. This is what happens, sadly. Emotions run high, and then, eventually, things settle down and cooler heads prevail.

Of course, the sight of some in the Arab world celebrating and pulling out the ol' "God is great" chestnut doesn't help keep the collective Western blood pressure down, but some perspective is in order here. While the news cameras are obviously going to be pointed at the "God is great, God is good" crowd because it's more dramatic and generates more outrage (and therefore more soundbites), those people are in a tiny minority. The vast majority of Muslims are outraged over this and every other terrorist attack against civilians. Whether or not they believe in the right of the insurgents to fight in Iraq, they do not believe in what has happened in New York City, in Madrid and now in London. In an article posted on CNN's website yesterday, Octavia Nasr wrote:

"Minority voices praised the attacks with anti-Western invective, but they were largely drowned out. On one popular Web site, one person wrote: 'How can you gloat and thank God for terrorist acts that were committed in the name of God???? Shaaaaaaaaaaaame on you Muslims. Don't you know that Islam is growing in Europe??? What the heck are you doing mingling things up??? What you're doing has no logic and certainly doesn't fall under the good wisdom God has asked us to follow.' "

Nasr cites just the tip of the mainstream Muslim iceberg, but if you Google around a bit today you'll find the comments she quoted are typical of the outrage being expressed by Muslims around the world. ABC-Australia reports that The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has officially labeled the attacks a "a despicable and deplorable act."

"The federation's chief executive officer, Amjad Mehboob, says it is important people realise the vast majority of Muslims around the world reject this sort of violence.

'If it is indeed elements of the Muslim community who have done it, it beholds more so on us to condemn that,' he said. 'This is not what Islam teaches - this kind of activity cannot be condoned and it must be stopped.' "

It's always frustrating to see the number of influential Muslim journalists who condemn terrorist attacks with a ready "however" or "but" in the text. It's happening this time, too, and it's probably a defensive mechanism that will always be there to some degree, but there's a noticable difference this time around. The op-ed journalists are taking a firm anti-terrorism stance with no qualifiers. Khalid al-Harub of the Pan-Arab Al-Hayat writes:

"The foolish mentality that planned these attacks - devoid of any bravery, honour or morality, and undoubtedly far from Islamic traditions and beliefs - has once again expanded the circle of hatred against Muslims and Islam."

He was echoed again and again today, by other journalists in the Arab world, by Muslims around the globe and by world leaders, even in places not normally given to displays of concern over such things. The prevailing sentiment is that they want the terrorists to stop hurting people while invoking the name and the spirit of the religion the rest of them respect deeply.

Every group has it's thugs. The idiots in Jasper, Texas, who dragged James Byrd behind their car, sure didn't speak for me, and I hope no one assumes they did just because I'm white. They were hateful thugs, just like the ones in London who apparently didn't stop to think about the fact that Aldgate Station is right next to London's largest Muslim community, and that they'd surely be killing quite a few of the people they call their own.

Saturday bonus pet blogging... which I introduce Atticus Finch.

Found this little fella grounded on the windshield of a car while leaving work yesterday. He's so easy to handle that it makes me think he's been handled before, but he could be a wild bird that was stunned by collision with a window or something, too.

Maybe not quite a pet, yet. But a neat little critter...

Postscript: Well, little Atticus keeled over and died today. Seems like his docility may have been the result of a bad bonk on the head after all. At least he didn't die squashed in the street (or in the jaws of some predator).

Alas. He really was a neat little critter...

Friday, July 08, 2005

I don't agree...

...but the Lovely and Talented Miss Audrey Hepcat thinks her 'dead cat' impression works best with her eyes open...

OK, then...

...London was savagely and senselessly attacked by a person or persons unknown.

Which naturally leads to the question.

Which country should we invade now?

Preferably a small one, armed with spears and rocks...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

From the credit where it's due department.

He's right about this...
"The war on terror goes on."
And on, and on…

Terry Turner counts the days.
· 1395 days since 9/11
· 1389 days since President Bush promised to bring in Osama bin Laden "dead or alive"
· 483 days since the Madrid train bombings

The time between the Pearl Harbor attack and V-J Day -- the end of World War II:
1,347 days

There are no silver linings…

…behind events like today's. There can be value, though, in the hard lessons such events offer, if we're willing to learn and set our course by what we've learned. Tim Grieve checks in on that Kerry fella and finds him setting a positive agenda for Americans...
There are "thoughts and prayers" for the people of London, expressions of solidarity with Tony Blair, and the obligatory alliteration about how the future belongs "not to fear, but to freedom." But there is also this...

...Kerry says that the London attacks "remind us that the fight is far from over" and underscore the need to complete "the unfinished work of homeland security, strengthening our port security, rail security, protecting chemical plants, and securing loose nuclear materials abroad."

What's the state of that work? A spate of recent reports suggests that Kerry has it about right -- "unfinished."
It's work we can do, though. Work we must do. Work we need every able hand at home for, too.

Greive offers background and perspective worth the price of admission at Salon.

Heal, Britannia.

As a committed Irish nationalist, I have no use for the British crown, and damn little for any British government. My experiences with British people, though, have been overwhelmingly positive, and I have great respect and affection for them. Today I'm one of them, just as not long ago the world was one with America.

While the news will almost surely get worse, what we know is sufficient. Although the prattle about sources of and responses to the tragedy in London is already well underway, and I may well get sucked into the fray, a moment, first, for those who have died today and those they left behind.

My heartfelt prayers...

Off the hook?

The Rude Pundit spares Rove his wrath...
He will not offer vivid fantasy descriptions of Rove being dragged in handcuffs out of the White House, snorting like a harpooned whale dragging a frigate behind it. He will not take pleasure in the potentially deeply gratifying feeling of schadenfreude that accompanies such hideously hard and enormously well-deserved falls. The Rude Pundit won't do it. He won't allow himself to get caught up in imagining Karl Rove in prison, after his first kitchen utensil sodomizing, screaming like the yapping bitch he's about to become that he'll give up the President in order to be allowed cushy country club confinement, and then, oh, what glorious chaos.
Too kind? Well, there's more...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Interesting data points…

Interesting data points…

Via TheGreenKnight at Big Brass Blog
How often has each justice voted to strike down a law passed by Congress?


Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

One conclusion our data suggests is that those justices often considered more "liberal" - Justices Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens - vote least frequently to overturn Congressional statutes, while those often labeled "conservative" vote more frequently to do so. At least by this measure (others are possible, of course), the latter group is the most activist.
Just something to remember when your Republican friends and neighbors start the rant about wanting interpreters, not legislators, on the bench...

On yet another story…

…that I can't seem to mine for a vein of inspired liberal outrage, Oliver speaks for me...

Dammit, Howard.

Why say stuff like this…
Indeed, at the DNC's executive committee meeting in Washington in early June, Dean publicly acknowledged that some congressional Democrats had urged him to tone down his "culture of corruption" rhetoric because they did not want to get caught up in the same ethics probe as DeLay.
…when you know it will lead to stories like this...
Washington — Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is trying to get voters to hold the Republican Party responsible for the "culture of corruption" he sees in Washington, but Dean is getting virtually no help from fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives.
…and you know damn well none of it is true.

In fact, the House Democrats have kept the issue of Republican ethics, or lack thereof, on the front burner throughout this Congress, and long before. Despite the grandstand whining of former Rep. Chris Bell or CREW's Melanie Sloan, the reason that Democrats aren't bringing new charges before Doc Hastings' committee is that they've been steadfast in their refusal to recognize a committee that doesn't operate with a non-partisan staff under equitable rules. Democrats are winning that fight, a victory which isn't aided by a blindside attack from the Chairman.

One of the reasons so many in the Congress were hesitant about the idea of Chairman Dean was the kind of rhetoric he employed when he was positioning himself as the great avenger from the outside, determined to whip the Party into shape from below. They worried that that rhetoric would be problematic coming from someone with a role deep inside, charged with leading the Party from above. If that happened, it would, of course, be a problem, but many noted that Dean's anti-establishment fervor seemed to be of a particular time, adopted for a particular campaign strategy. They pointed to his five terms in the Governor's Mansion, and his successes as a negotiator, and organizer and, of course, fundraiser.

Unfortunately, Howard's rhetorical excesses continue. When they're employed against our adversaries in the GOP, they may have some utility, though they're usually employed by the right wing echo chamber to distract folks from whatever disaster has most recently fallen Bushco™ or the Bugman. When they're aimed at our own, they're simply destructive. When they're patently false, they're inexcusable.

Fact is, the House Democrats have gone far beyond the battle over ethics rules and committee structure. Their primary online vehicle, The Stakeholder, has long been primary source material for my 'Scandal Scorecard' series. Caucus leaders have been outspoken on the corruption that's infested their Republican counterparts. Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, Chair of the DCCC, expressed the leadership position well while announcing a new round of targeted print ads focused on corruption issues…
"There's a question about the conduct and the culture that goes beyond the individuals. The speaker's gavel is supposed to open the people's house, not the auction house."
All ya'll in search of Democratic spine, looking for a little tough talk from the top, take note - and he didn't have to slam a single D to do it.

The targets of those ads? Readers of the hometown newpapers in the districts of Randy 'Duke' Cunningham (CA), Tom DeLay (TX), Bob Ney (OH), Richard W. Pombo (CA), Rob Simmons (CT) and Charles H. Taylor (NC). Frankly, I'd rather see the House D's spending their time and money talking to those voters than see them dropping more paper on a moribund committee.

If Howard Dean's having a problem finding House Democrats to work with on the corruption issue, maybe he's the one having trouble playing with others, since they've been in the game long before he joined the league.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Loathe as I am…

…to take public issue with an official organ of my Party, I think Jesse Berney sent a message that's just flat wrong at the DNC Blog. where he posted…
This is the chance for President Bush to turn his second term around and rescue himself from a legacy as the most divisive president in our history.
No it's not. George W. Bush picked up the title 'most divisive president in our history' the hard way. He earned it. Some kind of 'compromise' on his fist Supreme Court nomination won't change that, especially in an environment where Sandra Day O'Connor, a classic Arizona Republican in the Barry Goldwater mode, is painted as a champion of liberal governance while Alberto Gonzales is lauded as the last best hope for Roe v. Wade, the 'moderate' choice we should be happy to settle for.

Nonsense. I'm a Democrat. I don't want another Sandy O'Connor, I want a William O. Douglas, dammit.

I know, I know. I can't have what I want. Yet.

That doesn't mean that I have to pretend that any candidate deemed acceptable by the standards of George W. Bush - any candidate - is anything less than awful.


…to Russell Sadler at Blue Oregon for highlighting the kind of story we not only should be hearing more about, but that we should be doing more to create. This time it's the tale of James Chaney, a prominent Eugene Republican, who has abandoned the party with admirable rhetorical flourish...
“We’re poisoning our planet through gluttony and ignorance. We’re teetering in the brink of self-inflicted insolvency. We’re selfishly and needlessly sacrificing the best of a generation. And we’re lying about it,” wrote Chaney.

“While it has compiled this record of failure and deception, the party which I'm leaving today has spent its time, energy and political capital trying to save Terri Schiavo, battling the threat of single-sex unions, fighting medical marijuana and physician-assisted suicide, manufacturing political crises over presidential nominees, and selling privatized Social Security to an America that isn't buying. We fiddle while Rome burns.”

“Enough is enough,” wrote Chaney. “I quit.”
Next time, how about making it your neighbor, or one of the folks at work? You know, the ones who ID as Republican, but just don't belong anymore. OK, they're pretty conservative, and completely shameless about the twin SUVs in the driveway, and don't get them started on taxes…

But on the other hand, they expect their kids to get a world class education, including science class, and they think their dad's pension should be rock solid, and carrying health insurance for the kid in college is a struggle since the tuition hike went into effect and…

Fact is, there are a lot of people in who identify as Republican are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the direction of their party. We need to increase understanding that a vote for a Republican member of Congress, no matter how great a guy or gal your local Republican Congresscritter may be, is a vote for the leadership of the DeLay gang. A vote for a Republican city clerk may simply add to the ranks of the farm team that's been assembled by the radical destructionists and fundie Taliban that infest the upper reaches of the Republican Party today.

OK, so we can't bring every rational Republican completely across the divide to progressive enlightenment, one way to topple their tower of destructionist babble is to chip away at the base. If we can help some of them understand that rational people don't belong in the increasingly radical nest of corruption and sedition that's become the condition of the Republican Party, well, it's a start.

Friends don't let friends remain Republican.

Monday, July 04, 2005

In the interest of full disclosure...

I thought I'd follow suit and admit what the most recent ten songs through the speakers were here at the plush Cosmik Towers. Actually, the MOST recent thing was a Podcast of Take Back The Media radio, but that doesn't count as music, so:

1. Manuel Licea Puntillita - A Toba Cuba Le
2. Ras Sam Brown - Leave Babylon
3. Fortune & Maltese & the Phabulous Pallbearers - Study Break
4. Kasenetz-Katz Super Circus - I Got It Bad For You
5. AC/DC - Bad Boy Boogie
6. Steely Dan - Black Cow
7. Brian Jonestown Massacre - Stolen
8. AC/DC - Beatin' Around The Bush
9. Division of Laura Lee - The Truth Is Fucked
10. Archie Shepp - Ah-Leu-Cha

The temptation to replace one... or both of the AC/DC songs on that list was quite strong. Oh well, shuffle is shuffle. What can you do? And I make no apologies for #4. Gum, anyone? I brought enough for everyone.

Rick Santorum's marriage doubles over in pain

That it's happening at all is amazing. That it's happening in Georgia is shocking, or at least it is if you haven't been following the story for a while and had time to get used to the idea. Representatives of The United Church Of Christ met there to approve a resolution that will in all probability pave the way for an endorsement of same-sex marriage.

Think about that, and realize how unthinkable it was until... well, until now. A very large church, in fact one with over 5,700 congregations and 1.3 million members, is about to go against the tide of intolerance and admit that two men or two women marrying will have no negative effect on their own marriages.

True, Church Of Christ was the first church to ordain an openly gay minister, and they did that way, way back in the 1970s. It's also true that they've generally been tolerant of gays and lesbians all along, but an actual endorsement of same-sex marriage has been anything but a forgone conclusion. Many people within the church have been just as upset by the whole concept as the average Catholic or closeted Republican. In fact, the newly approved resolution, which would put bisexuals and trans-gender folks under the same umbrella of recognition as gays and lesbians, underwent several wording changes over the weekend before they finally arrived at the agreed-upon tag, "that this resolution may not reflect the views or current understanding of all bodies within the gathered church."

Wouldn't it be nice if the tolerance shown by the Church Of Christ rubbed off on the others? But it's not likely as long as influential folks like Rick Santorum are writhing on the floor clutching their wounded marriages. Whatever that means.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Big word. One of humanity's biggest and best ideas, too.

DrPat at was kind enough to provide a reminder of something I wrote a year ago, and I can't say it any better a year later. Go see. I'm kind of proud of that piece of writing, now that I think of it.

Once again I'm shining up my ribbons and donning my fez for a trip north and another small town parade. Coincidentally, the replica of the Wall I visited last year will be on display in the town we're parading in tomorrow. Wheels turn.

Anyway, one thing I may be independent of for the day is the blog, though Deej may or may not check in.

Meanwhile, I'll be marching down main street, munching on grilled salmon and thinking about the 58,228 reasons I have to celebrate, all in the treasured company of the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left.

Oh, yeah, and I'm going to read this again. With feeling…


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refuted his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. --And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.