Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Me, too, John...

"I'm sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans who will not debate real policy, who won't take responsibility for their own mistakes, standing up and trying to make other people the butt of those mistakes. I'm sick and tired of a whole bunch of Republican attacks most of which come from people who never wore the uniform and never had the courage to stand up and go to war themselves. Enough is enough..."
…me too.

Hat tip to the Carpetbagger Report.

The questions just get better.

“If a hairy-necked, raincoat-clad freak like Rep. Mark Foley can get himself named co-chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, one can only wonder: What the hell else is going on in the corridors of Capitol Hill these days?”

Matt Talabi, in Rolling Stone.
Hat tip to Tom Harper at Who Hijacked Our Country?

By the way, did I mention that Darcy Burner needs your help?

You don't have to go "out there…"

…for the truth today. It's in the P.I. :
...The president can't be held directly responsible because he's not up for election again. Short of impeachment and history's harsh judgment, he won't pay the price for a foreign policy folly that has made the world a more dangerous place.

But those who continue to aid and abet him in this disastrous policy are up for election, in just over a week, and voters across the country can and should hold them accountable.

Unless, of course, we want to stay the course.
There's an looming threat that Seattle will become a one newspaper town. If it happens, the odds are that it won't be the right one. We really need to work on that.

Hat tip to Goldy.

Good question.

“If you’re fighting for freedom outside the U.S. and then you suppress freedom at home,” he said, “then what are you fighting for in the first place?”

Sheraz Malik of Bellevue, in the NY Times.

Monday, October 30, 2006



God damn.

And speaking of truth…

…here's some.

Krugman, via The Carpetbagger Report...
The reason we have so much bitter partisanship these days is that that's the way the radicals who have taken over the Republican Party want it…

...As long as polarization is integral to the G.O.P.'s strategy, Democrats can't do much, if anything, to narrow the partisan divide.
…and Driftglass.
One look down into the ranks of the GOP confirms that there are millions of American citizens who are simply too bigoted or insane to be allowed anywhere near a voting booth, and Karl Rove knows just where they live and which of their pet perversions and diseases to stroke to get them sprinting towards the polls.
Sure, the outlook is fairly favorable, but we still have work to do every day.

That's true, too.

Speaking of the road...

...and my Brilliant and Beautiful Bride, one of our conversations during 2000 miles in the car focused on my frustration with the way the liberal tradition of being receptive to new truths and adapting ones beliefs and behaviors accordingly (that's, after all, what being 'progressive' should be all about) has been warped by the mass media into the notion that every opinion offered has to be given equal weight in a 'on the one hand, on the other' presentation.

Fact is, there aren't two (or more) sides to every issue. Sometimes there's just the truth. Lies aren't 'a side.' Lies are just lies, and should only be reported in order to be identified as such.

I'm not sure if I made my point as well as I wanted while we were driving along, but I'm pretty sure Glenn Greenwald makes it better in this post.


And, hopefully, an encore.

I'm back from the road and the first order of business is to offer my thanks to Carl, Darryl and DJ for the terrific job they did of keeping this place going while I was gone. I sure can pick 'em, huh?

I've invited them all to keep going for a bit if they can while I unpack and catch up with a few hundred emails, an overstuffed RSS reader and various loose ends of the day to day life I abandoned for a week. I've got my fingers crossed, and if you've been following their work, I'm sure you do, too.

As far as my exploits in California wine country go, well, if you find yourself anywhere near Healdsburg anytime soon (as in very soon), get yourself up to Raymond Burr Winery over on West Dry Creek Road and get yourself one of the last remaining bottles of the 2004 Estate Port. Really. And if your budget allows, the '99 cab is something pretty special, too.

While you're at it, keep on driving down to Hop Kiln and snag some of the last vintage of the original zinfandel planting from their Old Windmill vineyard. That's the 2004 Estate Zinfandel, and it's pretty damn special its own self. Lots of other good juice in Sonoma, too (we pretty much skipped over Napa and Mendocino this trip, save sentimental journeys to BV (good stuff, no purchases) and Parducci (great stuff and a bunch of bottles), but those were the best of the bunch (the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left would doubtless cast a vote for the Hop Kiln non-oaked chard).

Now, into those feeds and back to business...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's time to change the world.

I realize that there are probably things going on in the world that don't involve me making phone calls for the Darcy Burner campaign. These things are probably even important. But since I've still got this microphone and since I'm recently back from volunteering, I'm going to use this second day in a row to talk about making phone calls. Because how could you not when you've recently got this in the email?

You have read the news reports and seen the polls. This is going to be a historic election, and we have the opportunity to change the course of this country. With only 12 days left until the election, Republicans from coast to coast, and here in Washington State, are on the ropes.

Your time, enthusiasm and participation will make the difference. Volunteer now and help us put our country on the right track. E-mail
volunteer@darcyburner.com to sign up to volunteer now.

So today's calls were to women who were undecided. It was pretty quick work because we weren't leaving messages. According to at least two people, I moved them from undecided to Darcy's camp; It's a testament to the script they had for us and the power of Darcy's campaign, or they just thought it was the best way to get me off the phone.

Once again, I was impressed with the quality of the other volunteers. People were able to provide minutiae that wasn't on any of our scripts, right off the top of their heads. People were bright and funny to talk to. It was definitely a pleasure to be there. Also, funnily enough, if you want proof that the campaign reads the blogs, I was sitting next to Darryl's photoshop from the Naked Gun, that I'm too lazy to look up right now.

Anyway, I don't want you thinking I'm at all original, so I'll just let you know that I stole the title of this post from Digby. Seriously, here in the Upper Left we have a decent shot at two seats, and a sweep while quite a long shot, is still possible. You owe it to yourself, to your children, to your neighbors, and to your country to do something in the next week and a half. If it's doorbelling a precinct, or making calls, or driving people to the polls, or data entry, or whatever.

RNC ads to look forward to this week...

Crooks and Liars posts an SNL animated feature: The final week of RNC ads (WMV or Quicktime).

And on the Senate side of things...

DJ points out how conservatives are trying to scare their base with the idea of a House led by a Democratic majority.

Conservatives are using the same pitiful tactics on the Senate side as well. Fox News Sunday interviewed Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) today. (His opponent, Bob Corker was invited, but couldn't make it.)

Chris Wallace asked the loaded question:
Congressman, as we've said, you vote pretty conservative for a Democrat, but the fact is that if you win and if you're part of a Democratic takeover of the Senate, that means that Harry Ford becomes the Senate majority — Harry Reid, rather, becomes the Senate majority leader, Ted Kennedy becomes a committee chair, so does Joe Biden. Doesn't a Ford victory as part of a Democratic takeover, doesn't that end up helping liberals?
Ford responded:
What Tennesseans will get will be a Jesus-loving, gun-supporting believer that families should come first, that taxes should be lower and America should be strong. When Tennesseans send us to the Senate, that's what they'll get in my votes and that's what they'll get in the kind of leadership that we have not had in the Senate over the last six years.

I know there's going to be an effort to scare people, but you cannot scare people to be inspired. You cannot scare people to do good and important things. I say to the national Republican Party, that message has run out of gas here in Tennessee. We know we are better than that as a country, and Tennesseans are ready to vote for something better and stronger and more positive than that.
The Republican fear-mongering is running on empty. The current national attitude, shown in poll after poll this election season, is that people are tired of incompetence, fiscal irresponsibility, and the abuse of power that the Republicans have offered us for the last six years. The Republicans have failed to mount anything resembling genuine leadership.

Put liberals in charge of Congress? It looks like a winner! I don't think the Republicans are going to get much milage out of this.

Eye Of Newt Is Twitching

Our old pal Newt Gingrich has been a bit vocal lately. Not surprising, since his party's reign is in serious jeopardy. In a new memo sent far and wide within the GOP rank and file, Gingrich is suggesting, among other things, that his 1994 mojo could be worked again, if only the contributions would come rolling in.

The document, titled "Help Me Do It Again," attempts to stir up the base with this verbal image of Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office.

"This left-wing Congresswoman will be third in line to the presidency if she becomes speaker. The prospect of Pelosi bringing San Francisco values and a foreign policy attitude of weakness, appeasement and surrender would be a disaster for the country."

That's what Gingrich has for ammo? The guy's trying to start a fire with a tiny bit of clutched straw. Just another sign of the sinking of the not-so-good ship GOP. Stay tuned for Gingrich's next memo, a bitch-fest about the policies of FDR.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Volunteering With Darcy's Campaign

So, I finally got off my duff after telling y'all how important it is to volunteer (and my own readers on two blogs) and volunteered for Darcy Burner's campaign. I gotta say, it's a bigger deal than any other Congressional campaign I've volunteered at. And I've made plenty of phone calls for Inslee when he was in tight races. It had more volunteers than several Senate races I've volunteered at (although I think Patty's first race probably topped it for volume). It may have had more people than Bill Bradley's Seattle office in 2000.

As is often the case, they were excited even to be there. You could feel that the other people at the table making calls were buzzing. Of course it helped that at this point we were making calls to likely Democrats, many who've already voted. It was a good feeling, and I had the visceral feeling that we can win this that doesn't come from polls or fundraising totals, or good ads, or any of the rest of it. There's still time to do it, and if I can come over to do it, you can too if you're from Seattle or the surrounding area.

Oh also, the blogger cabal was in full effect, as I saw Lynn Allen and Daniel Kirkdorffer, who has his own account of doorbelling.

P-I Board Votes Against I-933. Twice.

The Seattle P-I Editorial Board has already come out against Initiative 933. This is the intitiative that opponents call the "anti-neighborhood" initiative. Now the P-I Editorial Board has done some additional research and have come out with a second Board editorial encouraging voters to vote against I-933. They have picked up on an important flaw in the initiative (my emphasis):
Now, we know that peddlers of simplistic fixes for complex public policy issues roll their eyes when confronted with niggling legal realities. But it would seem that if you force government to pay a penalty for enforcing existing laws yet don't bother to amend those existing laws to give government the power to not enforce them, you've left government with no choice but to pay up.

That would leave us with the same laws, regulations and restrictions in play, land owners still not able to do whatever they want with their land, and the taxpayers stuck with the bill for paying to compensate them.

How big is the bill?

The UW study estimated nearly $8 billion, not a far-fetched number, considering claims filed under a similar Oregon law have topped $6 billion.

Where would I-933 proponents have us get that money? Cut services? Raise taxes? Now wouldn't that be the great irony; the "Property Fairness Initiative" produces the largest collective tax increase in state history -- to pay property owners to obey laws as much as a decade old.
Elsewhere I've posted a list of Editorial Board opinions on I-933, with links to the text. Seventeen Boards encourage a NO vote, one encourages a YES vote and one is neutral.

And now the P-I Board feels strongly enough that they have cast their second NO vote.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Money and Time

It's probably past crunch time for money, but with the absentees already out here in Washington, a few hours of phone calls can make a huge difference. So here's who Shaun, Darryl, and I are supporting. A bit of overlap between us, and Shaun and I are Washington State centric, but give what you can if you care about a check on the Administration in the last two years. And to be more direct, here's where you can volunteer for Darcy Burner, and here's where you can volunteer for Peter Goldmark.

Reality challenged in Ohio

Josh Marshall points out how truely "challenged" Rep. Jean Schmidt (R OH-02) is.
Schmidt's opponent Victoria Wulsin (D) just went on the air with an ad lambasting Schmidt's notorious statement from the House floor where she called congressman and Marine corps veteran John Murtha a coward. [...] So they hit back hard by pointing out that the ad breaks House Rule V, which prohibits recordings of House proceedings from being used in political advertisements. "Her continued violation will land her in serious trouble with the House Ethics Committee," barked Schmidt spokesman Matt Perin.

Only, as the Wulsin camp pointed out, House Rules don't apply to people who aren't members of the House.
That's precious! Here's the ad from Dr. Wulsin's campaign...

Mostly for financial self-interest?

Josh Feit collects his several blog posts into one Stranger article that administers a smack-down of the Seattle Times Editorial Board for their bad--really bad--endorsement of Millionaire Mike!™ McGavick.

Read it, and just try to tell me it doesn't raise your blood pressure. Mike! comes down on the wrong side of almost every issue that the Editorial Board had previously written about:
So, the question remains: What does the Seattle Times like about McGavick? In fact, I challenge the Seattle Times to add up the issues on which it agrees with McGavick (based on its editorial, I count two: storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and repealing the federal estate tax) and measure them against issues on which it disagrees with McGavick (I count eight: the detainees bill, gay marriage, ANWR, gun control, net neutrality and media consolidation, teaching intelligent design in public schools, the war in Iraq, and Social Security).
Furthermore, the Times agreed with, and even praised, Maria for her positions on important issues like media consolidation and net neutrality.

So what the heck is going on here?
How about greed? McGavick supports Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen's pet cause: repealing the federal estate tax, which would affect just about 0.2 percent of Americans. Fourteen Washington families with estates valued at $10 million or above would benefit. The Blethens own 50.5 percent of the Seattle Times, estimated to be worth $900 million.

Given the Seattle Times' record of coming out against virtually all McGavick's signature issues, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the edit board abandoned its convictions for the financial self-interest of its publisher's family.
You know, I am open to alternative explanations, and some part of me really wants to believe that Frank Blethen would have the integrity to put himself above the level of greed suggested by Josh's analysis. But the evidence is pretty damn overwhelming!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Course

The Democrats are doin' a fine job with this ad:

Rep. Larson is in excellent shape

Bloggers tend to focus on the close races and neglect apparently safe seats. So I am happy to partially rectify my failings in that regard by mentioning a Survey USA poll released yesterday that shows incumbent Rick Larsen (D-WA-02 CD) crushing Challenger Doug Roulstone (R) 62% to 33%.

The poll of 524 likely voters taken from Oct. 22 through Oct. 24 has a margin of error of 4.2%

Larsen gets 96% of the vote from Democrats, 64% from independents, and a remarkable 18% from Republicans!

Reichert's monstrousity

FranklySpeaking has been doing an outstanding job analyzing Dave Reichert's voting record in a series of Kos diaries.

Here is his analysis of one "monster" that Reichert voted for:
It came to the floor of the House on November 17, 2005, and wouldn't leave until the 18th. It was known as H.R. 4241, but its victims would likely never know its name. The hungry child, the elderly without medical attention -- they would simply know the misery they experienced, not the horrible beast that was wrought in Congress that fateful day.

Behold the Monster. There in the fine print, in tidy little tables, the true savagery of the monster can be seen. $44 billion cut from education. Billions from Medicaid, from food programs for the poor in the Ag Dept. Altogether, almost $126 billion cut from the federal budget.

But that's looking at the monster through binoculars. What does it look like up close?

Measure the fangs. It cut school lunch programs for 40,000 children. Student loan programs cut by $20 billion. In unspeakable cruelty, it would even allow some of the elderly to be thrown out of their nursing homes.

Child support cut by $15 billion. Foster care cut by $1.2 billion. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cut by $800 million. And in order to raise revenue, it authorizes the sell-off of treasured public lands, including even national parks.
Read the whole thing here.

Update: Also be sure to check out Daniel Kirkdorffer's fantastic analysis of Reichert's voting record.

Finally, there is always this important link to check out....

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Mann and Sam

I said I was not going to swear when I was guest posting here. Something about deference to Shaun keeping the place civil. Anyway, if you can watch Rush Limbaugh imitate a sick man and not want to swear, you are a better person than me. But at least Olbermann and Sam Seder do a great job dissecting it.


With less than two weeks to the November election, the "get out the vote" (GOTV) effort becomes an important priority.

This year, Sen. Maria Cantwell's campaign is coordinating a GOTV effort over the five day period from Friday, Nov. 3 through Tuesday, Nov. 7.

If you have some time on these dates and can help in this effort, please volunteer! Success in the close races--I'm thinking Darcy Burner, Peter Goldmark, Eric Oemig, and Rodney Tom--will hinge on the strength of the Democrat's GOTV effort.

No on I-933

I-933 will cost...big time.

And you know what else? We will regret it if I-933 passes.

To learn more, check out No on 933.

Republican's final target list includes Darcy and Peter

Via Postman:
The Hill has gotten a copy of the the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Final Push List" of the races that are most in need of last-minute money.

Two of Washington's three GOP House members are on the list, Dave Reichert in the 8th District and Cathy McMorris in the 5th.
The NRCC is focusing on driving contributions to the 33 candidates on the list. From The Hill:

In an e-mail to congressional officials, NRCC PAC Director Jenny Sheffield states, “…it’s crucial at this point to send in some late money to some [of] our campaigns. The funds our candidates receive now will allow them to increase their TV buys and will make the difference on Nov. 7.

“I have attached our Final Push list for those Members and candidates most in need of support right now. If your boss has not maxed out to those on the attached list, please ask him or her to consider sending a check from a leadership PAC and/or reelection account … IMMEDIATELY!”

Republicans have also sent the list to lobbyists, seeking donations.

The good news is that both Darcy Burner and Peter Goldmark are running highly competitive campaigns--they are clearly seen as top threats by the Republicans. It means that the Republicans believe that Darcy and Peter can win.

The bad news is that the Republicans are going to dump bucket-loads of additional cash into these races.

Of course, by targeting these 33 races (29 races with a Republican incumbent), the Republicans are abandoning other seats that, a year ago, were considered safe for the Republican incumbent. We shouldn't settle for simple satisfaction. We shouldn't settle for "fallen hero" status for Darcy Burner and Peter Goldmark. We need them in Washington, D.C. helping to put America back on track.

We need to fight back!

The solution is obvious...but it takes some sacrifice and effort. If you can, please kick in just a little more for these worthy candidates. Talk to your friends, neighbors, and family and ask them to contribute as well. If you have some time, consider volunteering for Darcy or Peter.

Remember, in a very close race, your extra 2% effort may make the difference between winning and losing.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Drinking Liberally

Last time I was guest posting on the Upper Left, I said something Shaun didn't agree with on Northern Ireland, and now I'm in the middle of a post promoting a bar that isn't the Cabin (a fine establishment in its own right). I haven't ruled out talking about Hillary. Seriously, I don't know why he lets me back. Anyway, you can catch me and Darryl and others tonight and every Tuesday at the Montlake Alehouse, at 2307 24th Avenue E. Officially it starts at 8:00 but people are usually there by 7:30.

Know Thy Enemy

It's hard to believe, but there really is some fascinating reading about Republicans.

Here are a few Senate races, and interesting information about the Republican candidate in each race....
And here are a few House races and interesting information about the Republican candidate in each....
Click here for more information about this post, and see this if you want to do something similar on your blog or web page.

Another Sweet Sign of the Sinking GOP

Boy, have times changed. It seems like every election cycle has included plenty of stories about the massive GOP fund raising machine and the disparity between war chest totals on each side of the aisle. This year, however, most reports have the Dems leading the GOP in that all-important category. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) currently has about twenty three million dollars to spread around among candidates engaged in tough battles, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has only twelve million.

The big difference has been cooperation from sitting senators. According to an article in this morning's Washington Times, many Republican senators who are not even up for reelection this year have massive war chests, and the NRSC wants them to transfer significant amounts to them for redistribution to other campaigns, specifically ones where the Republican candidates are looking at possible defeat. The article names names.

For example, Republican Sens. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas both have more than $9 million in their campaign accounts, and there is no limit to how much they can legally transfer to the NRSC. Mr. Shelby isn't up for re-election until 2010 and won his last election with 68 percent of the vote. His campaign account contains $11.6 million, but he has given $15,000 to the NRSC. If Democrats take over the Senate, Mr. Shelby will have to surrender his chairmanship of the banking committee.

This is just one more obvious indication that the Republicans are breaking down in all aspects of their game. Where once there was nearly universal cooperation, it's now every man for himself as the ship goes down. The finger pointing is already under way, but if you follow the rotted planks of that sinking ship, you'll find they lead right to the bridge and Captain Bush, a man who has definitely lost control of his crew.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fingering the terrorists

Keith Olbermann responds to the new Republican fear ad:
The dictionary definition of the word ‘terrorize' is simple and not open to misinterpretation: "To fill or overpower with terror; terrify; coerce by intimidation or fear." Note please that the words ‘violence' and ‘death' are missing from that definition. For the key to terrorism is not the act-but the fear of the act. That is why bin Laden and his deputies and his imitators are forever putting together videotape statements and releasing virtual infomercials with dire threats and heart-stopping warnings.

But why is the Republican Party imitating them? Bin Laden puts out what amounts to a commercial of fear; the Republicans put out what is unmistakable as a commercial of fear.

The Republicans are paying to have the messages of bin Laden and the others broadcast into your home! Only the Republicans have a bigger bankroll.
Watch the whole thing...really!

Speaker Pelosi and Impeachment

I'll be honest, I didn't see much of 60 Minutes last night what with it going against the World Series. But apparently Nancy Pelosi said a thing. I certainly wouldn't take impeachment off the table, but I'm not sure what the process would look like. I mean I could probably name a bill of particulars, but accountability doesn't begin and end with articles of impeachment. And while I'd like it, impeachment isn't the most important thing to me.

But if we were to impeach President Bush, we'd get a President Cheney. And it'd be like Bush freed from the constraints of political calculus. We'd be lucky if we stopped at nuking Iran and Syria. So we could impeach both of them (again, I can probably write the rough draft), but frankly Pelosi leading a charge to undemocratically install herself in the White House would probably be a bad idea.

The top priorities now have to be getting out of Iraq (forcing President Bush if necessary), getting some control on the budget, making healthcare rational, and stopping the worst of the judges Bush is going to try to appoint. Maybe bring some measure of respect back to our country on the world stage. And of course putting a halt on the shredding of the Constitution. Realistically, the best we may be able to do in the next two years is stop the bleeding. But I do agree with Pelosi that, "making them lame ducks is good enough for me."

And then there are the disadvantages of local ownership...

This morning on KUOW, I caught most of the debate over I-920 between William Gates Sr. and Seattle Times owner Frank Blethen.

As Blethen was railing against "absentee owners" and the advantages of family ownership, it reminded me of something that came up last Tuesday at Drinking Liberally.

Isn't the latest round of mal-endorsements by the Seattle Times a big counterexample for Blethen? I mean, we have two major papers 'round here. One paper, the Seattle Times, is locally owned. And the owner seriously compromises the integrity of the Editorial Board because of his obsession over a single issue (repeal of the estate tax) . It would be a joke to claim any kind of autonomy for the Editorial Board of the Times this election season--unless you are refering to a concensus view of the four Blethens on the Board.

The other paper, the Seattle P-I, is owned by the Hearst Corporation. But Hearst doesn't interfere in the Editorial Board's work. The PI's Editorial Board has nearly complete autonomy in developing and publishing a concensus view.

Which paper is doing a better job of serving the public's interest?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"Lying" is such an ugly word

...but what else can you call it? Maybe the word "snorfulgaging" will do?

Thinkprogress has the video: watch George Bush snorfulgaging to George Stephanopoulos today on ABC’s This Week. Said Bush,
"We’ve never been stay the course, George!"
Uh-huh. On second thought, I'll stick with the word "lying"....

Savaged endorsement

The Seattle Times endorsed another pro-repeal-the-estate-tax candidate today. Dan Savage nails the Times editorial board...
Blethen wants his estate tax cut and if it wasn’t clear before it sure is clear now: Frank’s employees on the edit board would endorse Jeffrey Dahmer on his orders if Dahmer promised to vote Frank’s way on the estate tax issue.

So this morning I’m just left wondering this: How do Joni Balter and James Vesely sleep at night?
Indeed...Joni Balter is a strong proponent of women's reproductive rights. She cannot be happy about this endorsement, but she is seriously outnumbered on the Editorial Board by Blethens.

The Blethens' obsession with death and taxes has its price; N in Seattle shows one way this is so.

Update: I was so taken by Dan Savage's post that I neglected to scroll down to Josh Feit's damning demonstration of the blatant hypocrisy behind the Times endorsement.

The emergence of Darcy

Jim Vesely believes he understands East Side politics--and he probably did 10 years ago. Both politics and the East Side have changed substantially since then.

Will Democrats let go of the 8th CD if Reichert wins a second term? Nuh-uh...no way...not gonna happen. Goldy hits the nail on the head.
If Reichert wins, the Democrats will not go away, because people like me won’t let them.

If Reichert wins, we will collectively take a deep breath, analyze the results, and then immediately set out to recruit a netroots candidate for 2008.
Darcy's candidacy was brought into the national spotlight as a bottom-up effort by the grassroots and the netroots. We will do the same thing in 2008 if need be.

But let's keep this a purely theoretical question. You can help by putting your plastic to work or volunteering your time.

But enough about me…

…let's talk about my blog. Upper Left came into being three years ago today. That's over 4400 posts, almost 6000 comments and, last time I loaded the page, 181,298 visits ago. It's the visits, of course, that make the posts worthwhile.

An average of 5,000 or so visits a month doesn't put me anywhere near the blogging big leagues, I know, but for me it's a perfectly good reason to get up and get at it every day. Sure, it would be great if more folks hit the comment button more often, or if anyone ever noticed that PayPal button over in the sidebar, but that's not why I started this thing in the first place.

Actually, Upper Left has taken a somewhat different form than I imagined on day one, but I'm fairly happy with what it is. I'm totally grateful that any of you take the time to check in, in any way, at all.

Before I hit the highway (this is only my second break from daily blogging in those three years), let me thank you all 181 thousand and however many hundred times. I can't wait to get away, because I love to travel with my Brilliant and Beautiful Bride, but I can't wait to get back because of you.

Road trip.

As I mentioned, the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left and I are hitting the road in a matter of hours. It's our first vacation in a year and a half, and we both need the break. I'm leaving this place in the hands of some guest bloggers while I'm gone, though I may check in if there's a correspondence of mood and opportunity. So far DJ Johnson and Darryl have confirmed they'll be around. Deej has years of experience with my somewhat Hunter Thompson-esque approach to deadlines, but I'm confident he'll treat you better than I treat him. Darryl's blog, Hominid Views, is one of my daily reads and I'm grateful for his first appearance in this space.

There may be a couple more folks familiar to Upper Left regulars checking in as well. They have the keys if they find the time.

Meanwhile, we'll be taking our time driving down the Oregon and California coasts before settling for a couple days in Healdsburg, then over to Napa and ending up at a convention in Sacramento next weekend, then lickety split up I-5 to home. If there are any Upper Lefties enroute interested in a cup of coffee or whatever, I'll be checking email before we leave in a few hours and at least a couple times while we're gone. Give me a holler.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Let 'em eat magnetic ribbons.

Another story about what they're doing to my father's, my uncle's, my brother's Marine Corps...
As the Iraq war marches toward its fourth anniversary, food lines operated by churches and other nonprofit groups are an increasingly valuable presence on military bases countywide. Leaders of the charitable groups say they're scrambling to fill a need not seen since World War II.
They're doing it to my Army, too.

And I hate it.

Not quite as random...

...as usual. I've been sorting some tracks to put on mix CDs for an impending road trip with the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left (more on that in a bit).

Since I might miss an installment, here's the first twenty at random from the road song directory...
Carbon Leaf - Life Less Ordinary
Railroad Earth - Long Way To Go
Nanci Griffith & John Prine - Speed Of The Sound Of Loneiness
Heather Myles - Sweet Little Dangerous
The Turtles - Happy Together
John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads
Cocoa Tea - I Can't Help
The Eagles - Get Over It
Robbie Fulks - Let's Kill Saturday Night
Jackie Wilson - Higher And Higher
Booker T. & The MGs - Green Onions
Tom Paxton - I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound
T. Rex - Cosmic Dancer
Cheap Trick - Ain't That A Shame
The Temptations - Just My Imagination
The Mar-Keys - Bush Bash
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Helplessly Hoping
Ricky Nelson - Travelin' Man
Andy Solberg - On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Freeloader - Renee

Friday, October 20, 2006

Who dunnit? (Part 2)

Pamela Leavey, girl ahem, woman detective, investigates...
Last night my stat counter picked up an IP to my original post on this issue that came directly from the HeyJohn.org Admin. I won’t post the IP, but I will share this, whoever is responsible for HeyJohn.org, whether’s it D.C. insider or a beltway area blogger — I’ve got your number...
Stay tuned...

Have I mentioned…

…how much I hate what they're doing to my Army?
SAN DIEGO - Thousands of U.S. troops are being barred from overseas duty because they are so deep in debt they are considered security risks, according to an Associated Press review of military records…

...Data supplied to the AP by the Navy, Marines and Air Force show that the number of clearances revoked for financial reasons rose every year between 2002 and 2005, climbing ninefold from 284 at the start of the period to 2,654 last year.
Partial numbers from this year suggest the trend continues.

More than 6,300 troops in the three branches lost their clearances during that four-year period. Roughly 900,000 people are serving in the three branches, though not all need clearances.
Actually, that's not counting the Army, the largest branch, but there's no reason to believe a Spec 4 is in any less risk from predatory lenders than a Lance Corporal. Base commanders should put the payday loan places outside their gates on the "Off Limits" list for military personnel, for starters. A hard look at who we're recruiting and what we're telling them to expect is overdue, too.

The problem has been controlled to a degree by state legislation here, but some of these operations simply need to be closed down. And not just because of the military. They prey on broke folks of every occupation.

Money changes everything.

A few dollars from the other Washington, and Peter Goldmark's national news. The WaPo's Chris Cillizza blogs about the new focus on our favorite cowboy in a lab coat...

The DCCC went up with ads in Washington's 5th district today that accuse freshman Rep. Cathy McMorris (R) of having "gone Washington...the other Washington." The commercial says McMorris voted to "raid" the Social Security trust fund. "Votes to jeopardize Social Security aren't our values in this Washington," says the ad's narrator.

At first glance, the 5th district, which takes in the vast eastern part of the state, is not a typical Democratic target. President Bush won it 57 percent to 41 percent in 2004, and the district has grown increasingly Republican since George Nethercutt (R) ousted then House Speaker Tom Foley (D) from it in 1994. But McMorris is a freshman, and Democrats believe rancher Peter Goldmark (D) could make a real run at her.
Help Peter take advantage of the spotlight here. And think about saying thanks to the DCCC while you're there.

They haven't got another course…

…of course, but...
"We haven't found one part of the country, even in the South, where it is good to say, 'Stay the course.' "

Sarah Chamberlain Resnick, executive director of the Republican Main Street Partnership
I guess they've settled on "Ignore the course" instead.

Maybe even these guys...

President Bush: “As a matter of fact, we will win in Iraq so long as we stay the course.”

Vice President Cheney: “[W]e have to stay the course.”

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow: “[T]hat’s why the President is determined to stay the course.”

New course? New Congress!

When you put it that way…

…well, I've just got to agree. The Stranger lines up with Maria...
For a freshman in the minority party, Cantwell's record of achievement is jaw dropping: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge filibuster; extending the federal tax deduction for Washington's regressive sales tax; protecting Snohomish ratepayers from Enron; keeping oil-tanker traffic out of the Puget Sound; extending low-income health-care coverage; passing identify-theft protection; and helping pass campaign-finance reform.
We've got a good one. We need to keep her.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Always worth repeating.

Brand W Dave Reichert...
"Sometimes the leadership comes to me and says, `Dave, we want you to vote a certain way.' Now, they know I can do that over here, that I have to do that over here. In other districts, that's not a problem, but here I have to be able to be very flexible in where I place my votes....

And so, when the leadership comes to me and says 'Dave, we need you to take a vote over here because we want to protect you and keep this majority,' I...I do it."
Nice to see it making the rounds. Even better to see it on the air.

Who dunnit?

So far it's just a "Democratic official not affiliated with the DSCC…" per the Hotline account, but whoever is behind www dot heyjohn dot org (the site is unworthy of a link) should speak up about their association and motivation. Regardless, their aim is off. As The Hotline obligingly summarizes...
Kerry, in particular, has filled Democratic accounts more than almost any other Democratic Senator. Kerry staff estimates his three federal committees have given $3.5 million to Senate candidates and committees since the beginning of the cycle. They've also recorded more than $1.6 million in internet contributions from members of Kerry's e-mail list to Senate incumbents and challengers.
"Kerry, in particular..."

Sorry, heyjohn whoever you are, but this dog just won't hunt.

Still, I can't help who and why. If not the DSCC, well certainly not the DCCC. Can't imagine it being the DNC.

The RNC? Wouldn't be a shocker, but there's that damned "Democratic official" bit. Elected? Appointed? Hell, I'm a Democratic official. Officially. By an (admittedly paltry) vote of the people (there's a lot of dropoff for PCO).

Of course, there's another acronym (or should I say monogram) involving a 'C' that's in the mix. Couldn't help notice the polite applause for Senator Clinton.

"Even Hillary Clinton…has donated…"

Even Hillary, possessor of the largest political purse in Democratic politics. It's noble of her to step up, certainly. Her contribution to the DSCC is roughly a ten percent tithe from her war chest. Noble, but not particularly notable. Kerry's done more, in fact, actually and relatively.

He's also criss-crossed the country, building crowds for candidate's own fundraisers and organizing efforts, Senate, House, state and local candidates alike.

Hunt? Hell, this dog's dead.

So who's trying to, what'll we call it, check booking? Who's trying to check book Kerry?


VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) - A Vancouver soldier is one of ten killed this week by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Ron Paulsen spent 14 years in the Army and then another 13 years as an inactive reservist. At 52 years old, he was called up for active duty.

When Paulsen finished his service in 1992, soldiers were given a choice - take a lump sum of $30,000 and be done, or take an annual payment of $7,000 with a catch.

He said he went for the annual, but that meant he had to stay in the inactive reserve to get it, which is why he ended up getting called back in to service...
Fourteen years active.

Thirteen years past separation.

Fifty two years old.

Called up and killed.


God damn.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A way with words.

Matt Stoller at The Huffington Post.
"...Joe Lieberman, a petulant and brilliantly good liar who always gives me the feeling that he just likes wearing diapers because they make him feel safer."
Heh™. Been looking for words to describe that very feeling...

Mo' money…

…from that Kerry fella...
"Nitpick the campaign I ran all you want, question the tactics, I can take it -- but above all the small criticisms, I know that I lost to two lies backed up by big money: a lie about Iraq and a lie about my military record. Pundits can feast on the little details, I'm busy this year making sure that no veteran loses to a lie in 2006."

The money quote…

…from the Cantwell/McGavick/whoever debate, via Postman.
"Do you want to send somebody to Washington who is willing to cut thousands of employees off his payroll and take a cash bonus as a reward for that?"
Well, do you? Does anyone?

When she's good, she's damn good.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Good news…

…via Darryl.
SurveyUSA has just released a new poll in the Washington Senate race. Sen. Maria Cantwell leads Millionaire Mike!™ McGavick by 51% to 43%.
There's fretting in some corners that Maria has slipped a bit since September, but it's movement within the MOE, so perhaps it's not movement at all. What seems more significant to me after a vicious onslaught of negative ads from McGavick and his allies, Maria's not just ahead by a margin outside the margin of error, but above the golden 50% mark.

All we have to do to win this one is work hard every day. And maybe throw a few more dollars in the pot.

Monday, October 16, 2006

National Defense Democrats.

"We Democrats are determined to restore our nation’s military strength, refocus on the real terrorist threat, bolster security safeguards at home and reestablish the credible standing we once had in the world. That is not defeatist. It is a call to formulate and execute a winning game plan for the War on Terror."

Rep. John Murtha
Count me in.

Checking in…

…on The Course™.


Total coalition fatalities top 3000.


We won't get a new course until we get a new Congress.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

And now...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Can we dump Doc?

I'm as guilty as most wet side Washington bloggers of giving relatively short shrift to Richard Wright's run against Doc Hastings in WA-4. Conventional wisdom has held that it's our longest shot for a pick-up, but recent events have put the Ethics Committee Chair in the spotlight, and he hasn't benefited much from the attention.

An e-mail appeal from the Wright campaign indicates that the ground is perhaps more fertile than might be imagined (though this was a Democratic seat not all that long ago)...
POLLING: In late August, we hired Seattle polling firm Evans/McDonough to survey likely voters across the 4th Congressional District. This poll was a crucial moment; it would give us important insight into voter's thinking and intentions. We made sure to do the poll in a way that did not skew the results in favor of the Wright campaign.

The results were astounding.
§ Only 22% of 4th CD voters said they would definitely vote for Hastings;

§ Hastings’ reelect numbers are at the absolute low end of the “comfort zone” for an incumbent this close to the election;

§ Hastings’ positions on key issues are out of touch with Central Washington voters;

§ A majority of voters in the 4th District said they are not happy about the direction of the country and want a change;

§ After hearing the comparative messages of both candidates, Richard Wright took the lead among surveyed voters.
Of course, no one will hear that comparative message unless they're told somehow. If you're anywhere near the southeast corner of the upper left, you can offer some of your time and talent right here. If distance is an issue (heck, even if it isn't) you can donate at the Upper Left Act Blue page.

Frankly, I don't know if this one's really do-able, but Wright is doing all he can. The only thing left is for you to do something.

Since I'm pretty jazzed…

…about Democratic prospects right now, I'm dipping into c:/my music/jazz for this week's random ten...
Gene Ammons - Traveling Light
Hank Jones & Tommy Flanagan - Our Delight
John Coltrane - Chasin' The Trane
Tony Parenti - Old Man Rhythm
Louis Armstrong & His Hot Seven - Potato Head Blues
Charlie Parker - Now's The Time
Dee Daniels - Things Ain't What They Used To Be
Lee Konitz & Ray Nance - Duplexity
Ron Carter - NY Slick
Miles Davis - So What

Friday, October 13, 2006

If they've lost Kansas…

…well, maybe unbridled optimism is justified. From the usually reliably Republican Johnson County Sun...
You almost cannot be a victorious traditional Republican candidate with mainstream values in Johnson County or in Kansas anymore, because these candidates never get on the ballot in the general election.

They lose in low turnout primaries, where the far right shows up to vote in disproportionate numbers.
To win a Republican primary, the candidate must move to the right.

What does to-the-right mean?
It means anti-public education, though claiming to support it.
It means weak support of our universities, while praising them.
It means anti-stem cell research.
It means ridiculing global warming.
It means gay bashing. Not so much gay marriage, but just bashing gays.
It means immigrant bashing. I'm talking about the viciousness.
It means putting religion in public schools. Not just prayer.
It means mocking evolution and claiming it is not science.
It means denigrating even abstinence-based sex education....
But everything else adds up to priorities that have nothing to do with the Republican Party I once knew.
Actually, it sounds pretty much like the Republican Party I've been watching for years, but whatever works.

Hat tip to mcjoan.

Where to begin...

...wonders the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat, when every loose object looks like a cat toy...

Happy Birthday, Maria!

Sign the card.


Bear in mind that the G.O.P. isn’t in trouble because of a string of bad luck. The problems that have caused Americans to turn on the party, from the disaster in Iraq to the botched response to Katrina, from the failed attempt to privatize Social Security to the sudden realization by many voters that the self-proclaimed champions of moral values are hypocrites, are deeply rooted in the whole nature of Republican governance…
Which, of course, is why…

Hat tip John in DC for liberating this (and more) from the NYT Select vault.

From the "It Ain't Over" file…

On the one hand...
Republicans are also increasingly nervous about the seat held by Rep. David G. Reichert (R-Wash.). Darcy Burner, a former Microsoft executive, has pounded Reichert for voting with the GOP majority in Washington, hoping to capitalize on widespread frustration there.
On the other…
In a sign of nervousness, the NRCC recently increased its spending on television ads in the district.
Goldy's right…
The best way to avoid a repeat of 2004 is to directly give Burner the help she needs.
You can do that right here.

"The truth is what is…

…what 'should be' is a lie."

Reality based before his time, Lenny Bruce would have been 81 years old today. His truth is still too strong for some folks. Paul Krassner has the story.

And a heck of a job it is, I'm sure.

"He's not one of these Washington politicians who spews a lot of hot air. He just gets the job done."

George W. Bush, at a fundraiser for House Speaker Dennis Hastert yesterday.
Granted, the Speaker rarely strings two coherent sentences together, but what's this job he's getting done? As Motherlode reminds us...
This is the man who's presided over the "do-nothing Congress." The man who replaced the (Republican) head of the House Ethics Committee because he tried to censure Tom DeLay. The man who's led his party to the biggest, most pork-filled budgets any conservative could decry. The man who to profit himself engineered a $200 million government expenditure to raise the value of his land.
Oh yeah, Denny gits er done alright...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Yogi was right, of course…

…and it ain't over yet, but I like the trend. A new five poll average from the fine folks at pollster.com...
· Washington: Cantwell (D) 50%--41% McGavick (R)
Hat tip to Chris Bowers.

Good question…

…from Steve Benen.
I wonder, if there was an investigation into the administration's grant processes in all of the various cabinet agencies, exactly how much illegal discrimination do you think we'd find?
Only a new Congress can provide the answer.

Who you gonna call…


There's been some distress about the Pentagon's announcement that they're planning to maintain troop deployments in Iraq until 2010. In fact, to do otherwise would be pretty damn irresponsible, since, lacking a sudden and unexpected outbreak of sanity or justice in D.C., Bush has made it clear that withdrawal will be the problem for some future administration. That means we're there until January, 2009 at the minimum, and developing and implementing a withdrawal will likely take us close to, if not into, the next year. Even if "out now" meant starting now, a sane withdrawal, one that gives even a modicum of respect to the lives and safety of the troops, will take a considerable while.

The bigger question, in my mind, regarding continued deployments, is not how many, but who. Current deployment levels are already breaking the Army...
The Army is finding that the amount of time soldiers enjoy between Iraq tours has been shrinking this year. In the case of a brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, its deployment to Iraq was delayed by about six weeks because it otherwise would have had only 11 months to prepare instead of the minimum 12 months. As a result, the unit it was going to replace has been forced to stay beyond its normal 12-month deployment.

In separate remarks to reporters, Gen. Richard Cody, the Army vice chief of staff, said soldiers need more than 12 months between deployments to Iraq so they can do a full range of combat training and complete the kinds of educational programs that enable the Army to grow a fully mature officer corps.
As more and more troops find themselves spending two years of a three or four year enlistment in the sandbox, retention will continue to be a problem, impacting the corps of non-coms as well. Maintaining current force levels has already meant stop-loss orders and lowered enlistment standards. Even then, enlistment goals have been adjusted downward to stop the constant reports of failure by recruiters. It's hard to imagine how this will get any better as the war drags on. Given recent history, it's easier to predict that the continued occupation will require more, not fewer, troops than current planning calls for. Todd at The Blue State supplies the reality check...
· PREDICTION: In January of 2004, the Pentagon predicted that by May of that year the United States would cut its troop presence from 130,000 to roughly 105,000 forces.

· REALITY: The troop reduction never happened. In November of 2004, President Bush increased troop presence to 150,000 for the Falluja offensive.

· PREDICTION: In November of 2005, the Pentagon announced that troop levels would be reduced from 150,000 to under 100,000 by the end of 2006.

· REALITY: By October of 2006, troop levels currently stand at 138,000.

· PREDICTION: On October 11, 2006, the Pentagon announced that troop levels will remain the same through 2010.

As the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate, simply maintaining adequate security for our troops, let alone accomplishing any kind of meaningful mission objectives, will have some commanders looking for more, not fewer, troops. In fact, there may not be enough boots on the ground today to provide the framework for a secure and orderly withdrawal. Meanwhile, there's a rebellion in the ranks of the Army budget planners who need more resources for more troops, since the occupation of Iraq has crippled our ability to respond to any emergent security needs, a position which Rumsfeld opposes because the cost of troops threaten his policy of short-changing military manpower in favor of military contractors and new weapons systems. Rational planners at the Pentagon are aware that Bush and Rumsfeld's passion for their pre-emptive, elective, offensive war have damaged, if not destroyed, much of our defensive capacity. That's just one of the reasons I hate what they've done to my Army.

Like Todd, I don't know what reality the future holds. The first step on the path to a sane and secure future, though, begins in 26 days, with a new Congress that will empower Democratic hawks like Senator Kerry and Representative Murtha to change the Bushco™ route to disaster and begin restoring the United States armed forces to the position of preeminence they have historically enjoyed under Democratic leadership.

There's another alternative, of couse…

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Bill of Right.

The Mann, via Crooks & Liars...

Countdown has learned that habeas corpus actually predates the "Constitution," meaning it's not just pre-September 11th thinking, it's also pre-July 4th thinking.

In those days, no one imagined that enemy combatants might one day attack Americans on native soil.

In fact, Countdown has obtained a partially redacted copy of a colonial "declaration" indicating that back then, "depriving us of Trial by Jury" was actually considered sufficient cause to start a War of Independence, based on the then-fashionable idea that "liberty" was an unalienable right.

Today, thanks to modern, post-9/11 thinking, those rights are now fully alienable.

The reality is, without habeas corpus, a lot of other rights lose their meaning.

But if you look at the actual Bill of Rights — the first ten amendments to that pesky Constitution — you'll see just how many remain.

Well, ok, Number One's gone.

If you're detained without trial, you lose your freedom of religion, speech, the press and assembly. And you can't petition the government for anything.

Number Two? While you're in prison, your right to keep and bear arms just may be infringed upon.
Even if you're in the NRA.


No forced sleepovers by soldiers at your house. OK. Three is unchanged.


You're definitely not secure against searches and seizures, with or without probable cause - and this isn't even limited to the guards.

Five… Grand juries and due process are obviously out.

Six. So are trials, let alone the right to counsel. Speedy trials? You want it when?

Seven. Hmmmm. I thought we covered "trials" and "juries" earlier.

Eight — So bail's kind of a moot point…

Nine: "Other" rights retained by the people. Well, if you can name them during your water-boarding, we'll consider them.

And Ten — powers not delegated to the United States federal government seem to have ended up there, anyway.

So as you can see, even without habeas corpus, at least one tenth of the Bill of Rights, I guess that's the Bill of "Right" now… remains virtually intact.

And we can rest easy knowing we will never, ever have to quarter soldiers in our homes… as long as the Third Amendment still stands strong.

The President can take care of that with a Signing Statement.

I want my Constitution back.

Without it, the land is just real estate, and we're subjects, not citizens.


From Joe in DC...
Bush's approval is in the 30s because he is a failed President. The only way to control Bush is to change control of Congress.

From the "me, too" file.

I think what Mark Barrett thinks...
George Bush is killing American troops by refusing to change course immediately, and I think he’s refusing to change course because he thinks it will hurt him and his party politically.
Whatta you think?

Speaking of sleazy, shameless, ignorant…

...ahistorical, tendentious and meretricious lies, not to mention "...misinformation, shaky claims and just plain ol’ made up shit," Darryl's got the goods on Brand W Dave Reichert.

Not just a lie…

…but a "sleazy, shameless, ignorant, ahistorical, tendentious, meretricious lie…"

Dinesh D'Souza pisses off James Wolcott, which is good news for fans of Wolcott's particular brand of angry eloquence.

Go read.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Turns out that Kerry fella was right…

about Korea (along with all that other stuff).
The Democrat condemned the Bush administration for rejecting direct diplomacy in favor of the cowboy president's bluster and blunder. Noting that the White House had failed to effectively engage North Korea's concerned neighbors and other nuclear powers in the process, Kerry said: "The Chinese are frustrated, the South Koreans, the Japanese are frustrated" by what he described as the president's neglectful and "ideologically driven" approach.

"I think that this is one of the most serious failures and challenges to the security of the United States, and it really underscores the way in which George Bush talks the game but doesn't deliver," explained the senator from Massachusetts, who spoke as one of the most experienced observers of arms control issues in Congress.
He's still right, in fact.

Shorter Rudy…

9/11 happened because we didn't torture enough people.
Josh Feit has longer Rudy.

It's official.

Everywhere. Preznit 30something%:
CNN 39% Approval, 56% Disapproval
USA Today/Gallup 37% Approval, 59% Disapproval
ABC/Washington Post 39% Approval, 60% Disapproval
CBS/New York Times 34% Approval, 60% Disapproval
Newsweek 33% Approval, 59% Disapproval
Time 36% Approval, 57% Disapproval
AP-Ipsos 38% Approval, 59% Disapproval
Pew 37% Approval, 53% Disapproval
NBC/Wall Street Journal 39% Approval, 56% Disapproval
Hat tip to Holden.


From The Olympian, via Daniel Kirkdorffer
The greatest hope for this nation today is that Cantwell and her fellow Democrats win a majority in the House or Senate and, armed with subpoena powers, begin to hold Bush and his administration accountable.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I thought it was the Grand Oil Party

“We all know what GOP means now—it means Grope Our Pages…”

Former VA Secretary and GA Senator Max Cleland
AKA my buddy Max

Hat tip to Darryl.

OK, so maybe Iraq isn't Arabic for Vietnam.

Maybe it's Arabic for Afghanistan.
"We're getting stronger in every province and in every district and every village. We don't have helicopters and jet fighters. But we're giving America and its allies a tough time with roadside bombs, suicide attacks and ambushes. Our Muslim brothers in Iraq are using the same tactics."

They just lie.

Ken Mehlman made a swing through town to raise some bucks for local Republicans, including Reichert and McGavick, and to tell some lies to David Postman. For instance...
The big story of the week obviously is the fallout and investigations related to former Congressman Mark Foley's inappropriate messages to Congressional pages.

Mehlman said he thinks House Speaker Dennis Hastert has done a good job handling the scandal. He said that Hastert and House leaders confronted Foley and "offered the political equivalent of the death penalty. They said, "You're out of here or we're going to make you out of here."
Of course, they said no such thing. The facts...

As ABC producer Maddy Sauer has described, Foley decided to resign not after an ultimatum from Speaker Hastert, but after ABC called his office on Friday morning and read Foley staffers the instant messages they had obtained. According to Sauer, Foley’s office called ABC an hour later and said the congressman would be resigning.

Speaker Hastert himself acknowledged that he had no role in Foley’s resignation in his first statement on the issue on Monday:

When [the instant messages] were released, Congressman Foley resigned. And I’m glad he did. If he had not, I would have demanded his expusion from the House of Representatives.
Or maybe Mehlman is just admitting that Hastert is a liar, too.

Pretty much covers it.

Ted Turner's policy advice to a new Democratic Congress…

"Stop doing stupid things and start doing smart things."

Speaking of second stringers…

...a fun fact, via email.
Recently, Marion Berry made headlines when he called (Rep. Adam) Putnam a "Howdy Doody looking nimrod" while on the House floor.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

While I was watching some game or another...

...RCCC Chair Tom Reynolds ducked a face-off with his Democratic counterpart, Rahm Emanuel, this morning, and Rep. Adam Putnam was sent up for a cup of Sunday morning big league coffee. It turned out as you'd expect when a second stringer lines up against an all-star. Crooks & Liars has it all (and video links) but here's some of the best stuff from Rahm.
On the Republican leadership scandal…
What we know now, as you just said, is as far back as 2002, 2003, there were warning signs, and there were multiple conversations.

And what happened since that time? Mark Foley runs for Congress in 2004 even while they know there was problems.

2005, gets appointed to head the Missing and Abused Children Caucus for the Congress.

When he wants to retire, they ask him to run for reelection in 2006, even knowing, clearly, that there's something amiss and wrong here.

And the whole — the whole point here, let's just take one analogy. If a high school teacher was found doing this with a child, and the principal knew and not only said to the teacher, we're going to renew your contract, the community and parents would have that principal and teacher out.
...and the GOP record of failure (exceeded, perhaps, only by their record of disgrace)...
You promised to clean up this swamp, and you've created a deeper set of swamps around here. At every point that you promised to do something in 1994 with your Contract with America, you're in a breach of contract. And the fact is that this election, the American people know full well, Adam, that they do not want to stay on the course that you've set for this country. They want a new direction. They want a
Rah, rah Rahm!

Think about it.

An officer in the forgotten war...
"I know Iraq grabs a lot of headlines. But there's still a war going on over here," said Lt. Col. Steve Jarrard, 46, of Johnson City, Tenn., based in the hard-bitten southern town of Qalat. "I really hope we're doing the right thing over here."
That's a career military officer in a battle zone, ordering men to kill and risk being killed, and his mission is so poorly defined, so poorly supported and so far from success that he can only hope it's the right thing. Of all the bad news coming out of Afghanistan, that's got to be the worst.

If we can't give our troops a mission with far more certainty and far more support, we shouldn't be sending them into harm's way. Hope be damned, if they can't know, they shouldn't asked to go.

I hate what they're doing to my Army.

And now...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ten more...

...random plays.
AstroPuppees - Little Chick Tsunami
Cheap Trick - Southern Girls
Cream - I Feel Free
Wylie & The Wild West - Yodel Boogie
Saylor White - Real Men
Dan Montgomery - When I Was A Drunk
Roy Orbison - Only The Lonely
Randy Newman - Louisiana 1927
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Gimme Three Steps
Johnny Cash - I Still Miss Someone

What's cookin'…


· WA-08: Lean Republican to Toss Up

Yep, that's Darcy.

The cost…

…of The Course™. Terry McCarthy scans the bystanders...
For ordinary Iraqis, life has become ever more difficult. Many women are now afraid to leave their homes to go shopping, children are kept indoors to play, men sleep with guns next to their beds — if they can sleep at all. The physical violence is horrific, but even more widespread is the psychological damage...

"[Y]ou…cannot be a President in a wartime and not
realize that you’ve got to stay the course.”

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow

Friday, October 06, 2006

Well, yeah...

Michael Kinsley reports from Washington for the WaPo...
If you knew nothing about Mike McGavick except what is in his TV commercials and on his Web site, you would conclude either that he is a moron or that he thinks you are a moron.
…but it doesn't have to be either-or, does it?

When it comes...

...to blogging the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat, sometimes you have to settle for what you get.

This is what I got.

Still a good question…

"What is it these Republicans who never served have against Democrats who did?"
…from that Kerry fella. And, sadly, still current, as he comes to the defense of Patrick Murphy, the Democratic nominee for PA-8.

Pamela Leavey has the sordid details at The Democratic Daily.

Duck, Doc!

More incoming, from Ari Berman at The Nation...
There's many reasons to distrust the Ethics Committee, which I outlined in a piece in January, "Ethics-Go-Round." The most obvious red herring is that the Chairman of the committee, Rep. Doc Hastings, was specifically appointed by Hastert to prevent investigations of fellow Republicans.
All this attention. Couldn't happen to a, well, a more deserving guy.

And yeah, Richard Wright is on the list. Help if you can.

The Mann...

...the premise of a president who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying.

A president who since 9/11 will not listen, is not listening -- and thanks to Bob Woodward's most recent account -- evidently has never listened.

A president who since 9/11 so hates or fears other Americans that he accuses them of advocating deliberate inaction in the face of the enemy.

A president who since 9/11 has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack -- attack by terrorists, or by Democrats, or by both -- it is now impossible to find a consistent thread of logic as to who Mr. Bush believes the enemy is.

But if we know one thing for certain about Mr. Bush, it is this: This president -- in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month -- has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies are, they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak called the Constitution of the United States of America.
I often say that George Bush doesn't care about the Constitution. I could be wrong.

He may, in fact, actually hate the Constitution.

He just doesn't care about you.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Of course, it's not news.

The Olympian had Doc's number way back when...
Rep. Doc Hastings, a Republican from Eastern Washington, should be ashamed of himself for allowing the House ethics committee he chairs to turn into a dysfunctional joke. It is an embarrassment to the state, to the country and even to the Republican Party that swept to power on the promise of clean government.
By now you know…

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What's that…

…about insanity and doing the same thing over and over again?

Someone should tell Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), chairman of the House Page Board...
"And I think, given the (information) that I had, I would do the same thing..."

Birds of a feather…

...stay The Course™ together.
President Bush:
“As a matter of fact, we will win in Iraq so long as we stay the course.”
Vice President Cheney:
“[W]e have to stay the course.”
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow:
"...the President is determined to stay the course.”
And the latest to hatch
Al Queda operative "Atiyah"
"The most important thing is that you continue in your jihad in Iraq…"
A crusade by any name...

Hat tip to Think Progress.

Well, yeah.

cookie jill tells the simple truth.


From the Daily Astorian, via Jimmy at McCranium...
Largely to make certain it was neutered on behalf of since-disgraced GOP leader Tom DeLay, the House Ethics Committee was placed under the chairmanship of Doc Hastings, a dull Washington state congressman whose main qualification for the job seems to be belief in the philosophy espoused by Hogan’s Heroes character Sgt. Hans Schultz: “I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!”
You can help Richard Wright defeat Doc right over here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Don't lose track…

…of the cash. The first 100K was bad enough, given what Reynolds knew about the source, but...
Mr. Foley, who served on the House Ways and Means Committee, was a prolific fund-raiser. His campaign account had a balance of $2.7 million at the end of August, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Carl Forti, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Sunday that the committee would gladly accept Mr. Foley’s money or part of it to devote to House races.
There are endless charitable purposes to which the Foley fund not only could, but absolutely should go. No political party, candidate or committee should profit from this windfall. Foley's initial $100K contribution was not atypical of the tribute normally expected from a member of leadership, especially one with a plum appointment to Ways and Means. I really don't detect a cover up there, or trace any connection to his behavioral issues.

To take any or all of his remaining campaign coffers, though, as partisan booty is morally reprehensible. Keep an eye on those dollars, because if even one ends up at the NRCC now, every campaign they back, every candidate who doesn't repudiate them and return or refuse their aid, is tainted with this scandal.

Every one.

He sees his chances...

...and he takes 'em. Majority Leader Boehner glimpses a promotion on the horizon and strikes while the iron's hot...
"I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of," said Boehner. "And, and, and my position is it's in his corner, it's his responsibility. The Clerk of the House who runs the page program, the Page Board—all report to the Speaker. And I believe it had been dealt with."
Maybe. Let's make sure it's short-lived, though…

Good Advice…

…from Joe in DC.
Five weeks til election day. Do something every day to make sure the GOP loses on November 7th.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sample snark…

…from Josh Marshall.
..."How can we trust them to protect America when they can't even protect the summer interns on Capitol Hill."....

Follow the money.

Via The Blue State...
Tom Reynolds (R-NY) took $100,000 from the political PAC of Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) in July of 2006. Which would just be GOP business as usual but for one thing — Reynolds had been informed months before that Foley had a certain e-mail problem. You tell me — which was more important to Rep. Reynolds: principle or politics?

Good questions…

….from The Carpetbagger Report.
Can we now officially declare the Republican Party bankrupt?

Has any party ever been as helplessly, shamelessly corrupt and ineffective as today's GOP?

How can this party possibly compete nationally in a campaign season?

What more, exactly, would someone need as proof to see that the modern-day GOP has lost its moral compass and completely fallen apart?
Now, more than ever…

Sunday, October 01, 2006


…from Phil Nugent.
"President Bush says that our enemies hate freedom and are out to destroy what's most important about America. This is what psychiatrists call 'projection'."

Talking about…

…getting it right, I seem to have procrastinated just enough, because Neil the Ethical Werewolf writes the post I've been meaning to get around to. We may not be as smart as we think we are, but at least we're smarter than they think we are.

Just go read.

And now...