Sunday, December 31, 2006

Not could, Senator.


Long since.

Via Think Progress...
If Bush ignores Congress, Lugar said he should expect “a lot of hearings, a lot of study, a lot of criticism,” and “demands for subpoenas.” Fox host Chris Wallace said, “You’re saying this could get ugly.” Lugar replied, “Yes, it could.”
It got ugly with Senator Lugar and his Republican colleagues at the helm. All those hearings, studies and criticism? Just the clean up crew at work.

And now...

...a passage from the Prairie Populist.
"...there is another reason why I quote scripture. When I quote Democratic authority, the Republicans attack my authority and they keep me so busy defending the men from whom I quote that I do not have time to do the work I want to do, but when I quote scripture and they attack my authority, I can let them fight it out with the Bible while I go about my business."

William Jennings Bryan,
Something tells me ol' Bill coulda taught Frank Luntz a thing or two about message delivery. Might have a tip for Lakoff, too.

Obama seems to be among those who already knows this one.

It's not just a number.

"3000 is a horrible number. But it is not the only dreadful number. By concentrating on it, Washington politicians and the US press hide from us the true magnitude of the problems we face in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Afhghanistan, injuries, allies, others. Dr. Cole describes the horror hidden by the horrible.


Saturday, December 30, 2006


Here’s the thing about justice. If it is not done properly, it is not done at all.

Hammer, nail…


Arthur Ruger at Willapa View...
...After September 11th, the little big man stepped forward, talking like John Wayne.

But what we got was Liberty Valance.

Good question…

…from someone vested in the answer.
“First it was weapons of mass destruction. Then when there were none, it was that we had to find Saddam. We did that, but then it was that we had to put him on trial,” said Spc. Thomas Sheck, 25, who is on his second tour in Iraq. “So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?”
Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

The usual.

Well, a couple of 'em may be unusual...
HARP - Oh, Mary Don't You Weep
Maria Muldaur - Oh, The Rain
Mel Waiters - Got My Whiskey
Booker T. & The MGs - Green Onions
Marty Stuart & Travis Tritt - This One's Gonna Hurt You (For A Long, Long Time)
Coyote Run - Northwest Passage
George Jones - On The Other Hand
Linda Ronstadt - Poor, Poor Pitiful Me
Donovan - Catch The Wind
Julia Fordham - Jump
HARP, for the non-folkies out there, is Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert & Pete Seeger. Check 'em out, together or on their own. They'll make a folkie out of you.

It seems worth mentioning…

…that while I'm not climbing on his wagon - not yet, anyway - John Edwards' entry into the '08 primary race is the first thing about it that's actually interested me.

Still, I don't anticipate the field being at all clear before spring, and it could be a year before we can define the real contenders. There's not much in the world less reliable than pre-campaign polling and the only thing I'm pretty sure of is that nobody knows anything, and if they say they do, they're worse than ignorant, they're stupid.

Or on the payroll.

For now, patience is a virtue.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Coalition of the Killing.

Saddam Hussein has been executed. Iraq affirms their commitment to the shrinking fraternity of nations whose governments kill people for various crimes. While virtually the entire democratic world has abandoned the practice, Iraq boldly stands shoulder to shoulder with their compatriots in places like China, Botswana, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and, of course, the good ol' US of A.

Funny, though, I don't feel any safer.

Last call.

Looks like that round of shots Billmon set out last week signaled closing time. There's nothing left but an error message this time, so it looks like he just might mean it.

Last time around I kept him in my blogroll because I was pretty sure (or pretty hopeful, at least) that he'd be back. I'm not going to take him out now, although I have considerably less hope. He belongs there, though, because one of the most satisfying bits of recognition this joint ever got was a spot on the Whiskey Bar menu.

It's not hard to find people around the blogosphere crediting him as the best writer among us. They're right. More than that, he had an eye for topics and angles others often missed, and scooped up choice bit from the bottom of the memory hole by the bucketful.

A grand sweeping bow in gratitude for the strong drinks and tasty snacks that could always be found tucked between the words. We are all diminished just a bit.

I'm pretty excited...

...about the cat-blogging potential of the Canon Sure Shot the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left tucked under the tree.

The lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat seems less than thrilled, though.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bottom line?

I'd forgive Gerald Ford for pardoning Nixon before I'd ever forgive him for trying to impeach William O. Douglas, and I'll never forgive him for pardoning Nixon.

Peace to his family, but I'll miss James Brown a hell of a lot more.

Actually, there is such a thing…

…as a dumb question. Chris Cillizza offers a case in point...
Edwards unveiled his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination from the Lower Ninth Ward, the part of New Orleans hit hardest last year by Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo)

But will anyone be paying attention to his well-scripted kick-off?
Well, yeah, Chris.

You, for starters, it seems.

And a few other folks, too...
Results 1 - 10 of about 950,000 for John Edwards 2008 presidential announcement
If the WaPo's lead political blogger is so eager to marginalize Edwards so early, maybe the timing of his announcement isn't his biggest problem.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's not really my intention…

…to become the official blog of the unofficial John Kerry Defense Committee (been there, done that - see the archives), but when this kind of stuff comes up, well, somebody's gotta say something. Steve Clemons writes...
Senate Foreign Relations Committee incoming Chairman and just declared presidential candidate Joseph Biden is avoiding John Kerry's political problem and not planning to say "I voted for it before I voted against it" by opposing the President's plan to surge troop levels in Iraq on the front end.
Of course, the situation Joe Biden finds himself in isn't really analogous to the situation that led to the infamous Kerry quotation. After all, Joe was for the war, or the use of force authorization, at least, before he was against the escalation. There's nothing contradictory there, of course, because they are two very different issues arising at two very different times. Invoking the Kerry story here is completely gratuitous, a cheap dig that does nothing to illuminate Biden's tough stance against a so-called American 'surge' in Iraq.

Worse, perhaps, is the continued implication that John Kerry said or did something wrong when he made the original remark. By now, many, perhaps most, folks have completely lost track of why and where Kerry would have said something like that in the first place. It's become imbedded in the general consciousness as a key piece of evidence in Karl Rove's '04 flip-flop spin.

In order to make it fit his story line, not only did Rove have to extract the line from its context, he had to count on the willingness of a compliant press and punditry to forget that context as well. As usual, he had no trouble getting their cooperation. Some of us remember, though, and refuse to let the nonsense go unchallenged.

When Kerry was asked by an attendee at a town hall style appearance why he, a consistent supporter of our military forces, would have voted against a defense appropriation, he pointed out that he had, in fact, voted for the authorization. When the Republicans stripped the funding mechanism (a roll back of tax cuts for high incomes) out of the bill and simply piled the costs onto the birth tax that future generations will inherit as a legacy of Bush's war, Kerry, as a matter of principle, voted against the amended appropriation. His answer made sense to the town hall audience, but it was edited by the Bush campaign and their media allies to make it sound as though Kerry didn't know which side of the issue he was on.

Sadly, may of Kerry's ostensible allies bought the spin and it's become widely accepted as a gaffe, something Kerry should never have said in the first place. The problem with that way of thinking is that if we're going to ask our candidates, any of our candidates, to make sure that they never say anything that can be truncated, extracted or otherwise distorted by their opponents, well, we're going to have to ask them never to say much of anything at all, aren't we?

The reason we remember the line at all is because the Republicans lied about what John Kerry meant and their lie was reported as Kerry's mistake. It will happen to our next nominee, whoever that might be, and the one after that and every one until they're called on it every time they do it.

I generally consider Steve Clemmons a cut above the journalistic pack, but he's done not only John Kerry but his readers, our democracy and my Party a disservice by perpetuating this bit of Rovian spin.

There's some fretting…

here and there about proposals for legislative civility in an "era of hardball politics," but I welcome this news...
After chafing for years under what they saw as flagrant Republican abuse of Congressional power and procedures, the incoming majority has promised to restore House and Senate practices to those more closely resembling the textbook version of how a bill becomes law: daylight debate, serious amendments and minority party participation.
No, I don't expect the Republicans to reciprocate. What I expect is what I voted for, and what I think a majority of Americans have voted for - a government that actually functions and does so according to Constitutional principles. There's nothing in the Constitution about partisan gamesmanship in the legislative arena, and it doesn't do much good to put the grownups in charge if all they're going to do is get drunk and fight with the kids.

A couple years of honest budgets and real progress on real issues will do more good for our country and our Party than any amount of political payback.

They're still lying…

…about that Kerry fella. What's Scott Johnson afraid of?
On his visit to Iraq, Senator Kerry apparently got something like the silent treatment from the troops who are "stuck" there. WDAY's Scott Hennen quotes a message from a friend serving in Iraq:
...Check out this photo from our mess hall at the US Embassy yesterday morning. Sen. Kerry found himself all alone while he was over here...eating breakfast with only a couple of folks who are obviously not troops…
Here's the snap (edited for size) as run at Powerline…

…and here it is brightened up a bit.

As you can see, when shadows are lifted, it's apparent that almost everyone in the Embassy mess at the hour in question was eating breakfast with only a couple of folks, and most of them are apparently (nothing's actually obvious in the picture) not troops. There seem to be more uniformed servers in the shot than uniformed Gis. In fact, the guy in the OD jacket sitting across from Kerry seems as likely to be a soldier as almost anyone in the mostly empty mess hall. Anyone else at Kerry's table has been conveniently cropped from the shot. It's just a typical, if not particularly effective, smear job.

Except it's more than that, because Johnson has access to the Republican megaphone…
UPDATE: Scott writes that he'll be filling in for Sean Hannity on his radio show Wednesday and Thursday, and promises to talk about the photo…
While talking about a dark, blurry photograph doesn't seem like particularly radio (maybe if they hold it really close to the microphone?), count on hearing a lot about how much the troops hate the Senator.

It's more than that, too, when even blue blogs pick up the smear...
Photo: John Kerry got silent treatment from troops during his visit to Iraq. Is he still thinking about running for president?
As with the legend of the joke - the one that was so badly "botched" that everyone in the audience laughed at the punch line - it's hard to see what the point of knocking John Kerry around might be unless people think that he is running again, and that this time he's likely to win.

I don't know if either of those things is true. I know this is true, though.

They're lying about John Kerry again.

The question remains, what are they afraid of?

Update: Steve Benen covers some of the questions surrounding the picture's provenance that Diane alluded to in a comment yesterday. Photo time stamps aren't proof positive, of course, but as Steve points out, there are a few things we do know…
* Kerry is a decorated war hero, and most of his critics aren’t.
* Any suggestion that Kerry’s “botched joke” was criticism of the troops is ridiculous.
* Kerry chose to spend time during the holiday season with troops in Iraq, and most of his critics didn’t.
* Kerry has spent the past few years being right about the war in Iraq, and most of his critics haven’t.
And, by the way, a big howdy to all the Carpetbagger Report readers who've been dropping by. Ya'll come back, hear?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Joe waxes nostalgic
All modern campaigns and transactional campaigns are built around a candidate who proclaims to the nation "Look at me -- aren't I amazing?".

The Dean campaign (and any transformational campaign successful or not) was built around a candidate who proclaimed "Look at you -- aren't you amazing?"

This strikes me as essential. More than ideology, or any other factor -- true transformational leadership can only come from a candidate who fundamentally gets that it isn't about him/her -- it's about us.
Seems like "it's about us" is Joe Trippi's way of saying "It was about me." (Joe responds, quite gracefully, below. He's right. My dig was too cute by half, and not fair at all. Mea culpa. My reservations about the notion of "transformational" campaigns stand, though.) It seems it wasn't the candidate that mattered, it was the campaign Joe created that was important. I was always puzzled by the aura of empowerment that surrounded the Dean campaign. What, exactly, were Joe's acolytes empowered to do? To turn out at rallies and meet-ups? To man lit tables or canvass precincts? To give cash, and to give again and again?

Which of the "modern campaigns and transactional campaigns" Joe seems to disdain didn't allow, didn't, indeed, encourage, their supporters to do all of the above?

There was the blog, of course, and Trippi's use of campaign blogging to promote that feeling of individual empowerment was, admittedly, innovative. But transformational? It was a more efficient technology, in many ways, than the printed newsletters, online bulletin boards and email lists that had become fixtures of campaign communications over the years. It was certainly an effective way to bring new people into the campaign, people who might never have made the trek all the way to a campaign office or bothered to fill out the volunteer info on a contribution envelope. In the end, thought, the people were brought in for all the same old purposes - to stimulate, through their labor, their money or a combination of the two, support for a candidate.

One of the regrettable things about the way the 2004 Iowa campaign ended, with the fabled "Dean scream" and the media frenzy that ensued, is that it's served to hide the fact that before Howard Dean ever walked onto the stage that night, Joe Trippi's "transformational" campaign had failed in a fairly dramatic way. Despite burning cash at historical rates and putting legions of watch-capped warriors on the sidewalks of Iowa, Howard Dean himself proved to be a hard product to sell, and way-new politics and tales of personal empowerment just didn't matter to people who looked him over closely and decided that he just wasn't their best choice.

It may be all about the campaign for Joe, but for voters the campaign is all about the candidate. I'm glad so many people found their way into political activism, at any level, through the efforts of Dean For America. I'm especially encouraged by the number of those folks who seem to have remained engaged at some level. In many ways, the effort Trippi led at DFA was part, I think, of our victories in 2006, and will contribute to greater victories in 2008.

Candidates benefit from well managed campaigns and enthusiastic volunteers and donors, but in the end, elections are still choices between candidates and the the voters' judgment of who will best represent and serve them. Campaigns, in the eyes of the electorate, are about the candidates. That's a truth that hasn't been transformed.


...essential truth, from Professor Cole...
Top Ten Myths about Iraq 2006
Go. Read. Now.

Good question…

…from Jane Smiley.
Why would anyone feel allegiance to George W. Bush?
And, if not a satisfying answer, an accurate observation.
It's a mystery, and it's a mystery that is killing people every day.

Monday, December 25, 2006

And ho again...

Happy Merry from Grampa Claus, The Quarterback, the Brilliant
and Beautiful Bride of Grampa Claus and Bentley the Wonder Dog.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

I don't do Jesus Christmas, but I'm having a wonderful Santa Christmas, thanks to the various and sundry Santas in my life. I'm off in a bit to do a little Santa-ing of my own on The Quarterback's first Christmas.

Whatever you celebrate today (and every day deserves some measure of celebration) I hope it's everything you want it to be.

See y'all in a while...

Aw, damn.

"Everyone should listen to James Brown first thing in
the morning, for medicinal reasons."

Van Morrisson


Sunday, December 24, 2006

On the other hand...

...maybe all this populism stuff is over-rated.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Eminence the Very Lord Shaun the Extemporaneous of Deep Throcking
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

You may rise...

A passage from the Prairie Populist.

A passage from the Prairie Populist.

Much is often made of William Jennings Bryan's religion. The image most contemporary Americans hold of him, if they have an impression at all, is likely derived from the caricature of Bryan in old age in the film "Inherit The Wind," about the infamous Scopes Trial. Given the depth of his Christian fervor, these words about the role of religion in public life seem particularly instructive and, given the news of the day, particularly apt…
"Democracy knows no creed = recognizing the right of each individual to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience; it welcomes all to a common brotherhood and guarantees equal treatment to all, no matter in what church or through what forms they commune with their Creator."
William Jennings Bryan,
(Unsatisfying to atheists, perhaps, but as hard as it is to find one (or a professed one, at any rate) in public life to day, it was unimaginable in 1896 when these words were delivered. As appalled as Bryan may have been by such a profession, however, I think his respect for the right of conscience would have trumped his dismay.)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Random eleventh.

The first ten were fine, but Eartha Kitt's version of "Santa Baby" just popped up, and the season is truly not complete without it.

Good advice…

…and not just for the intended targets. Stillwell, at the NPI blog...
Free public relations tip of the day for southern white Republicans: don't go on the nightly news and say stupid things. People will think you are a stupid.
Of course, the intended targets are likely too stupid to take it.

Random Ten...

...Ho, Ho, Ho edition.
Peggy Lee - Happy Holiday
Vince Guaraldi Trio - Christmas Time Is Here
James Taylor - Winter Wonderland
Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
Johnny Mercer & Margaret Whiting - Baby It's Cold Outside
Judy Garland - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Count Basie - Jingle Bells
Carla Thomas - Gee Whiz, It's Christmas
Aaron Neville - The Christmas Song
The Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick
Hey, you don't have to believe the story to be a sucker for the tunes.

Friday, December 22, 2006

It was just a slogan…

…not really a suggestion.

Apparently Condee missed the sixties, though, and thinks it's actually a policy...
"This is a country that is worth the investment because once it emerges as a country that is a stabilizing factor, you'll have a very different kind of Middle East. And I know that from the point of view of not just monetary costs, but the sacrifice of American lives, a lot has been sacrificed for Iraq, a lot has been invested in Iraq."
For the record, the market is up to 2964.

Mining the memory hole.

Billmon's back.

Be there.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Kos, via Andrew...
Look, the problem here is a distinct lack of understanding of what the word "centrism" means. If it means,"Where the majority of the American people live", then there is already a "centrist" organization.

It's called the "Democratic Party".
I'm afraid, thought, that "Progressive populism, progressive values, and the progressive movement are in fact mainstream political thought..." may overstate the case. A manefestation, I suppose, of fear of the 'L' word.

In large measure because of that fear, "progressive" is a loaded term, too, though, adopted by those on the right and left of the liberalism that lies at our genuine center. A similar motivation lies behind the contemporary liberal flirtation with libertarianism.

Of course, lots of liberals call ourselves 'lefties' these days, which would have appalled both the Stalinist Old Left and the reformist New Left.

Since I'm the only guy on my block...

...(actually, the only guy I know anywhere) who owns both his own Santa suit and a menorrah, I figured this picture is a perfect way to wish y'all a happy merry whatever, however...

You did notice that Santa has a beard and always wears a hat, right?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Get it now?

George Bush doesn't care about the Generals. He doesn't care about the Congress, either, or the Constitution.

And he certainly doesn't care about you.

Seems to have some concerns about commerce, though…

I knew it!

Jesse's been running the whole show all along…
New DCCC Chair: Chris Van Hollen. Rahm Deputy, my hometown Congressman, excellent.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


That's Bob Geiger's assessment of "the sheer number of bills related to national security or helping America's Veterans that were voted down by the Republicans -- with no substitute measures of their own -- simply because the ideas came from the other side of the aisle."

Here's his list of what they've done to my Army and our vets.

Guess you know I hate it.

Good question…

…from an source that's become somewhat less unlikely lately.
"...before Powell tells the rest of us what we already know about the disaster in Iraq, shouldn't he acknowledge his responsibility and take a moment to apologize?"

Tucker Carlson

I'm no Clintonista…

…but hell...
Dick Morris says he will leave the country if Hillary wins.
…if he meant it, I might have to sign up early.

Of course, I don't believe a damn word he says.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pamela's right…

…as far as she takes it, but she's being kind, if not actually wrong, in not taking it a bit further...
"Considering the claims by so many right wing bloggers that Kerry is irrelevant, they all spend an awful lot of time giving him coverage on the blogosphere. Which leaves open the interpretation that Kerry is, as we all know, a huge threat to BushCo apologists in the blogosphere and the BushCo shills and hacks like Jules Crittenden."
Seems to me it's not just right wingers that seem a bit nervous about that Kerry fella's continued leadership on so many issues. The whole 'not again' crowd seems to protest a bit too much, and far too often, for folks with nothing to fear.

When the news fails to excite…

…there's always the pine branches, pine boughs, pine needles and other reminders that I live in a small grove of 2nd growth Douglas firs to deal with after a wind storm.

While the rake is getting a rest, though, I'll note my agreement with Atrios and Aravosis.

One of the things some of us still need to learn is to look past the pull quote for a little context. Harry Reid might have said something like something you heard he said, but it probably wasn't that. It almost never is.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

And now…

…it's time to retire Sunday with Speaker Sam. There just aren't any more quotations jumping off the pages of my volume of Sam Rayburn's wisdom, so I'll leave you with the seventy-some that are in the archives. Never fear, though, I've found a dandy replacement.

Among my collection of volumes by and about notable Democrats is "The Real Bryan," selections from the speeches of the Prairie Populist, William Jennings Bryan. It was published in 1908, but with a new generation of Democrats seeking, if sometimes imperfectly adopting, the mantle of populism, many of Bryan's views and concerns have new currency.

I haven't worked out a snappy title or graphic design for the new feature, but let's kick it off with these words…
"The paramount issue, therefore, is the protection of all the people who desire equal rights from the few who demand special privileges, and this issue is presented in every question which is before the public or is likely to come before the public."

William Jennings Bryan,
Yep, still true today...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

From the 'Fun Facts' file…

David Kowalski at MyDD offers this data point…
With Federal Election Commission numbers mostly complete, tallies of candidate and independent expenditures in the 30 seats captured by House Democrats reveal something unusual. In 70% of those races (21 of 30), Republicans outspent Democrats…
…which seems to support my contention that you don't need the most money to win elections, just enough.

Of course, these days "enough" tends to be a hell of a lot, and getting it is the toughest part of a candidates job. Sadly, that keeps many of our best potential politicians out of the business or stuck in the loser's bracket.

Seriously, who cares...

...about this?

Or this, either?

Tune time...

Elvis Costello - Pump It Up
Cristina Williams Band - Summer Moon
Kinky Friedman - Sold American
Dixie Chicks - Cowboy Take Me Away
David Crosby - Wooden Ships
Kelly Joe Phelps - River Rat Jimmy
Eric Anderson - Thirsty Boots
Carbon Leaf - Life Less Ordinary
Judy Collins - Someday Soon
Grateful Dead - Man Smart, Woman Smarter
Another particularly pleasing list. The Collins' version of "Thirsty Boots" is probably the most familiar, but the original is still the best. Nice to see Judy popping up anyway, though, and I'm always surprised the Dead don't pop up more often on these things, considering their prominent place in my musical pantheon.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Feel better now?

Bushco™ decides to report their version of the 'good news' from Iraq…
Tony Snow announced that the administration had reversed course and would be publicizing body counts to disabuse people of the notion that “our people aren’t doing anything” in Iraq.
Great. We're killing people. Didn't know that, I bet...

A grand sweeping bow... the hardworking men and women of Seattle City Light, who have restored my power in the wake of a wind storm of historical proportions.

And now, the long awaited pot of coffee...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

And the rest were just making stuff up…

The debacle of 2006 didn't have to happen, but it was destined to happen. There was no cooperation between the House and Senate GOP. There was no coordination between the House and Senate GOP. And so there was no effective communication whatsoever: Two out of three Americans couldn't name a single congressional accomplishment. NOT ONE!

Republican consultant Frank Luntz
Hat tip to Political Wire.


"Dobson's group is a fib factory that should change its name to Focus on the Fallacies."

Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out.
Yes, it does, though it can take its time.

Hat tip to John in DC.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


…for 'Dollar Bill.'
Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi said the Democratic Steering Committee had resolved that Jefferson, who last Saturday won a runoff election in his New Orleans district, will not be given back his spot on the Ways and Means Committee, the panel that determines tax and trade policies.
If we're going to get the right things done, it's good to start by doing the right thing.

Another lamentable landmark



Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More is better.

Former Congressman Ciro Rodriguez completed a stunning political turnaround Tuesday with an upset win over incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla that topped off the Democratic takeover of Congress.

Part wanker, part wisdom.

Rothenberg (my emphasis)...
Earned Another Run for Something

• Tessa Hafen (D-Nev.)
• John Gard (R-Wis.)
• Darcy Burner (D-Wash.)
• Michael Steele (R-Md.)
• Dan Seals (D-Ill.)

Analysis: All of these unsuccessful candidates either exceeded my expectations or demonstrated potential. They shouldn’t give up on politics just yet.
Of course, I'm in total agreement about Darcy. I don't know enough about Hafen or Seals to judge, but I'll concede the benefit of the doubt for Democrats. I'd say he's wrong about Gard just because I think all Republicans should give up on politics.

Michael Steele, on the other hand, ran an endlessly dishonest campaign, culminating in the importation a busload of homeless folks from Philly to istribute 'Democratic' sample ballots featuring the Republican candidate's name. If he "demonstrated potential" it would seem to be more for the used car or aluminum siding trades than the political arena. If, on the other hand, he exceeded Rothenberg's expectations, that says more about the sorry state of those expectations than Steele's achievements.

Raise a cheer…

for our embattled northwest neighbors.
BOISE, Idaho -- Newly elected Democrats stood up and left their desks empty on the floor of the House chamber during Friday's organizational session, a show of unity against a patently unfair and mean-spirited move by the Republicans who refused to recognize Democratic electoral gains.
Seems like despite a 6 seat pick up in the Idaho Leg, Republicans denied the Democrats what should have been a customary additional seat on the budget committee. Given that the Rs still hold a 51-19 member edge in the Idaho State House, there's nothing to gain but whatever pleasure giving insult might provide by their action.

The 19 Democrats didn't take it sitting down, though.


Of course, the Republicans didn't care...
House Republican Speaker Lawerence Denney then broke another tradition by continuing the organizing session without a single Democrat on the floor.

Just as GOP Congresscritters don't give a damn about the Constitution, their counterparts in Legislatures (and don't think Idaho's an isolated instance) don't give a damn about the rule of the laws they're supposed to operate under, either.

And none of them give a damn about you.

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Just as an imminent hanging...

...concentrates the mind of the condemned, so can an election shape the rhetoric of a Republican pol. Senator Gregg's sudden discovery that the budgets he has carefully shepherded during his tenure as the Budget Committee chair are economic disaters for America is a case in point. You'd think he'd missed all those meetings.

Similarly, we're suddenly seeing a flock of hawks rethinking their support for our adventurism in Iraq. Steve Benen takes note of a few Senators - Smith of Oregon, Cornyn of Texas, Coleman of Minnesota and Sununu of New Hampshire - who've recently expressed second thoughts about a war they've supported with various degrees of fervor up to this point.

While all of the above have several things in common - not the least of which is their support for the Republican leadership over the Democratic leadership and all the evil that implies - Steve pins what's likely the most relevant trait of these apparent dissenters from the GOParty line share...
They're all Senate Republicans who are up for re-election in 2008. What a coincidence.
Coincidence, indeed.

What they're doing to my Army...

“It was a shameful thing to ask men to suffer and die, to persevere through god-awful afflictions and heartache, to endure the dehumanizing experiences that are unavoidable in combat, for a cause that the country wouldn’t support over time and that our leaders so wrongly believed could be achieved at a smaller cost than our enemy was prepared to make us pay.

“No other national endeavor requires as much unshakable resolve as war. If the nation and the government lack that resolve, it is criminal to expect men in the field to carry it alone.”
…and the man who wrote that wants to do it to even more of them.

I hate it.

And I'm not very fond of St. McCain, either...

Hat tip to Ntodd.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

You'd think they weren't even there…

"You just have to ask yourself how we, as a party, got to this point, where we have a leadership which is going to ram down the throats of our party the biggest budget-buster in the history of the Congress under Republican leadership. Well, anyway, the American people figured it out, and I'm sorry we haven't figured it out yet."

That's Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), outgoing Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, who's apparently completely befuddled about where the damn budget came from (or didn't, since we're still running the country on a continuing resolution after the best efforts of the "less than nothing" Congress).

They'd love you to think that recent history has been an aberration, that the souund judgement of the Republican Congress was undone by some mysterious virus that grips them upon arrival in D.C., that all their efforts were undone by invisible gremlins in the dead of night, that what we've just seen couldn't possibly have happened.

Here's what happened, Senator. You and your Party have proven yourself incapable of governance. You tried, you failed and it's time for all of you to pack up and go home.

First the bad news…

It appears that that "Dollar Bill" Jefferson (D-LA) has won the runoff election in LA-2. That means there will be a corruption scandal on deck for the new Democratic leadership as they try to reorganize the Congress, clean up the Republican budget mess and launch their own ambitious legislative agenda.

Still, as Darryl points out, it's proof positive against the Republican spin that voters were gripped by an anti-incumbent fever in '06. Even the most corrupt Democrat in the Congress managed to win re-election.

Don't imagine he'll serve out his term, though, before he gets to serve out a sentence...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Preznit Thirtysomething Percent.


Just 30.

Quote of the day.

"When I accept the Speaker's gavel, I will be taking it out of the hands of the special interests and put it into the hands of America's working families and children for a better future."

(almost) Speaker Pelosi

Let's get it started...

...uh huh.
Eddi Reader - Wonderful Lie
Lovin' Spoonful - On The Road Again
Mary Karlzen - I'd Be Lying
King Curtis - Memphis Soul Stew
Black 47 - Five Points
Judy Collins - Sunny Goodge Street
Elvis Costello - Radio, Radio
Johnny Cash - Goodnight Irene
Jerry Lee Lewis - Lewis Boogie
Christine Kane - She Don't Like Roses
(One of my favorite lists so far. The Christine Kane stuff is particularly worth seeking out.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Well, they did something…

…and in the immortal words of Private Pyle, surprise, surprise.

Reuters - The White House on Friday dismissed former Secretary of State James Baker's appeal that his Iraq recommendations be largely adopted as a whole and said President George W. Bush was considering various proposals for a change in course.


The Associated Press reports the House ethics committee has concluded that Republican leaders did not break any rules in handling ex-Rep. Mark Foley's improper advances to former male pages but were negligent in protecting the teenagers, a congressional aide said today.
…shouldn't there be some rule that requires somebody to protect these kids? And wouldn't negligence break that rule?

One more travesty for Doc Hastings' legacy.

Hat tip to AMERICAblog.

They're not waiting…

…for 'the first 100 hours.' That Congressional pay raise scheduled for the first of the year? Maybe not...
Officials said Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the party’s leaders, had notified Republicans they will try to add the anti-pay-raise provision to a bill that provides funds for most government agencies through Feb. 15.

Congress must pass the funding bill before it adjourns for the year, and the target for that is Friday.
In case you'd lost track (I had) The Carpetbagger Report notes that "salaries for members of Congress have gone up $31,600 since the last minimum-wage increase."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Shades of conspiracy?

Over at Effin' Unsound, thehim finds fundie wingnut Gary Randall writing about the Keith Ellison Koran Kontroversy, where Randall reminds us that...
George Washington, our first President, began the tradition of placing his hand on the Bible as he was sworn into public office. That tradition has continued until today.
What Randall doesn't mention, and likely doesn't know, is that the original plans for Washington's inauguration didn't include a Bible at all, there being no Constituional basis for it. It was only when the Freemasons involved in the event realized that their Grand Master should, in accord with Masonic tradition, make his oath on a 'Volume of the Sacred Law,' in accordance with Masonic tradition. The Master of St. John's Lodge No. 1 was dispatched to bring the Bible from the lodge's altar for the affair, and, again according to Masonic tradition, the book was opened to an Old Testament passage as the Presidential oath was administered. After the oath, Washington, again according to Masonic custom, kissed the open book.

The expression 'volume of the sacred law' itself reflects the Masonic recognition that for an oath to be consecrated, it should be taken on a book that the subject of the oath holds holy. That's why, depending on geography and the desires of the membership, an Masonic altar might contain a Christian Bible, a Koran, the Upanishads, etc., or a combination of volumes. It's why, when I was installed as Master of my lodge, I was obligated on a Tanakh.

Of course, a survey of the shelves of the bookstores frequented by the fundies who are in such an uproar about Rep-elect Ellison's desire to use a volume of spiritual law meaningful to him will offer any number of condemnations of Freemasonry as an unholy plot against Christianity, given their belief that anything non-Christian is by definition anti-Christian.

The Presidential oath has an ecumenical history, volume-wise. The Douay Bible that John Kennedy was sworn in with is, of course, a translation that is widely rejected as heretical by fundamentalists, and when Franklin Pierce took the oath, it was on a volume of secular law, rather than a holy book of any kind.

Another fun fact - when GB2 was inaugurated, he hoped to borrow the George Washington Bible from St. John's Lodge, as his father had before him, but was unable to use it due to a combination of the fragile state of the book and inclement weather.

The whole brouhaha around Ellison's Koran would simply be silly if it wasn't so patently un-American, but I do take a measure of pleasure in watching the fundies get so wrapped up in the preservation of Masonic ritual.

Too many words?

Joe in DC writes...
"There is no room for reason in the Republican Party."
A shorter version might be "There is no reason for the Republican Party."

It's true either way.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Of course, we knew…

…that Rummy's DoD has little use for the survivors, but over at Editor And Publisher, Greg Mitchell's been documenting the contempt for the fallen, as well. The latest case in point is Spec 4 Jess Buryj, another victim of friendly fire and military lies...
"...criminal investigators destroyed bullet fragments, agents failed to collect ballistic evidence from weapons at the checkpoint, medical personnel made incorrect notations on Buryj's records and military officials knew his death was a friendly-fire case months before they officially notified his family.”


“As a result, Buryj's family buried him believing he was killed when his vehicle was rammed by a dump truck. They did not learn that he was shot by friendly forces until nine months after his death, and a lack of physical evidence means it is nearly impossible to know what happened that night.”

If you're waiting…

…for my take on the Iraq Study Group's report, Mark Barrett's already covered the ground well enough...
All the talk you’ve heard leading up to today, and all the talk you’ll hear in the days and weeks and months to come is just that: talk. We are being led by a man who has lost control of his bowels. His only response to the grill of the truck bearing down on him is to pray that it will suddenly and miraculously disappear.

It won’t.
I'll have something to add to the conversation when somebody does something.

Less than nothing?

Via Political Wire
If Congress departs on Friday as planned, that will mean they will have been in session for just 241 days over two years. According to The Last Campaign, the "do-nothing" Congress of 1948 that President Harry Truman famously campaigned against met for 254 days.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

From the "Who'da thunk" file...

Via The Blue State...
A study released this month by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) found that foreign oil dependency is counter-productive to American security.
Heck, if they'd called, I could have told them.


“Well in war, my dear friends, there is no such thing as compromise; you either win or you lose.”

St. McCain
You never win in a war. You always lose. Lives, treasure, a bit of your soul, some of the best of each generation that marches off, something is always lost.

You fight wars when the value of what you might lose - territory, perhaps, or liberty, certainly - justifies the price you must pay.

Only then.

Because you always lose.

Quote of the day.

Tom Schaller on James Carville...
To him, every year is 1992 all over again, which makes him increasingly irrelevant with each passing election cycle.
Which, of course, is a shame, because he seemed so talented back in '92.

The quotation itself is just an aside from Steve Benen's interview with Schaller, which qualifies as today's must read.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Well, yeah...

"...we are to simply accept that the the Obama for President wave has absolutely nothing to do with anything that the man HAS DONE and further, that whenever he does decide to use his enormous political capital to do something, it is all in pursuit of the White House - not any actual sense of DOING SOMETHING for the people who elected him to the Senate."
…but how does that differ from the case (or lack thereof) for Hillary?

Grampa Claus...

...and The Quarterback.

And equal time for the smartest and prettiest girl in the world...

Why do I hate America?

Your 'Do You Want the Terrorists to Win' Score: 100%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, "blame America first"-crowd traitor. You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms. By all counts you are a liberal, and as such cleary desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all. You are fit to be hung for treason! Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day.... in Guantanamo!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Sunday, December 03, 2006


From Brent Budowsky...
...We are the party of national security, national unity and national morality. We are the party that the voters have now entrusted with a great mission and no doubt, we will live up to their trust.

And now...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Time for my annual Santa gig, where I don the red suit to help my Lodge raise money to support the local firefighter's holiday program for needy families.

If you're anywhere near the Richmond Masonic Center (185th & Linden in Shoreline), drop by for breakfast and say howdy to Mr. Claus.

Ten for today...

Mostly an old folkie edition...
Harry Belafonte & The Chad Mitchell Trio - I Do Adore Her
Joan Baez - Long Black Veil
Robbie Fulks - Let's Kill Saturday Night
k.d. lang & the re-clines - Three Days
Tom Paxton - Ramblin' Boy
Greg Trooper - This I'd Do
Chris Daniels & The Kings - If I'd Only Taken You Dancing
The Greenbriar Boys - Roll On John
Laura Nyro - Ooh Baby, Baby
Sinead O'Connor - Big Bunch Of Junkie Lies

Friday, December 01, 2006

We are the Wolverines...

...the mighty, mighty Wolverines.

Congrats to my HS alma mater, once again the Div 3-A state champions.

Order is returned to the football universe.

Why is it…

…that every Democrat seemed to want to chair the House Intelligence Committee while so many Republicans seem to want to bail out of the Senate Intelligence Committee?

Just askin'...

Confidential to Michael Crowley…


You're the only person who didn't know.

Probably the only person who'd admit it, too.


From Glenn Greenwald.

(1) If the war is done the right way, great benefits can be achieved.
(2) If the war is done the wrong way, unimaginable disasters will result.
(3) The Bush administration is doing this war the wrong way, not the right way, on every level.
(4) Given all of that, I support the waging of this war.

(1) It is immoral to stay in Iraq if we don't send in more troops.
(2) We are not going to send in more troops.
(3) I oppose withdrawal and think we should stay in Iraq.

Baker-Hamilton Commission:
(1) Things in Iraq are disastrous and our current policy there is a total failure.
(2) Our troop presence is not improving the situation; things have gotten steadily worse.
(3) There may be goals that, if theoretically met, would improve things, but those goals can't and won't be met -- either because we lack the resources or because they are just not achievable.
(4) No matter what, we absolutely cannot begin withdrawing, and those who want to do so are radical and unserious.
And they still wonder why they're losing the argument and the war.