Tuesday, January 31, 2006

And a time to every purpose under heaven

It has been 935 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

And I think we'd just like you to leave…

Mr. Natural offers up a gem from Georgie…
BUSH: "I'm beginning to think it through a little bit. I'd like to leave behind a legacy - or a think tank, a place for people to talk about freedom and liberty and the DeTocqueville model of what DeTocqueville saw in America."
…and punctures his balloon of conceit with some words from the Frenchman himself…
"I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America."

"The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."

"All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it."
Legacy, George? Here’s your legacy, so far…



Damn your war.


God damn you.

Hey you...

…and you, and, well, maybe you, too.

A hit from the clue bong.

A year from now, the junior Senator from the state of Washington will either be Maria Cantwell (D) or Mike McGavick (R ). Sorry, that's the way it is.

If any of you know of a scenario for Democratic victory that involves losing a Senate seat in the Upper Left, let me see it.

And David? Surely your disappointment in her "…performance throughout the entirety of the Judiciary Committee's hearings…" could be tempered by the troublesome detail that Judiciary isn't one of Maria's committee assignments. Keep your money, sure, but leave the rest of us to search our own conscience, thanks.

C'mon, people.

Eyes on the prize.

The bottom line…

…from Eric Alterman.
While the attempt at a filibuster was doomed from the start, the majority of Democratic Senators for once listened to their vocal constituents and instead of taking a centrist position, took a stand.
There it is. We weren't supposed to win. Hell, we weren't even supposed to matter. But we mattered. We moved Senators into our column. We put every Senate Democrat with Presidential prospects or aspirations (and there's a big difference between those lists) on record. We clogged phone lines, filled mailboxes, probably broke a few fax machines. We turned a pipe dream into a show down.

We mattered, and because we mattered, we won.

OK, we didn't win the big one of the week, but that was a rigged game from the get go. There are big ones to come. There's a huge one in November.

I'm personally saddened by Maria Cantwell's vote on cloture. I've known Maria as a political friend for over 20 years now, and I know she's better than her behavior on this one. But Maria Cantwell isn't the reason Sam Alito's on the Court. And she damn sure knows we're out here.

For now, though, let's call off the lynch mobs and open the champagne. Remember, "...the majority of Democratic Senators for once listened to their vocal constituents and instead of taking a centrist position, took a stand."

And you really should raise a glass to that Kerry fella...

Heroes of the Constitution.

Gold medals for everyone! Big ones, with James Madison's bust in relief.

Hat tip to Atrios.

Monday, January 30, 2006

There is a season, turn, turn, turn,

It has been 934 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Hell, yeah!

Country singer Toby Keith, via 43rd State Blues.
…a lot of people want to paint me with that (conservative) brush. But I'm a lifetime Democrat, and that really pisses them off. They want me to be this big right-wing nut. I'm just a patriotic guy that was angry after 9/11 and knew our troops were going to have to go into Afghanistan because that country wasn't going to do the right thing and turn (Osama bin Laden) over to us.
Me, too.

Hat tip to Ryan.

Tristero posts for me…

…at Hullabaloo.

Me, I'd be perfectly happy if none of the scoundrels currently destroying our country's way of life and government were never prosecuted if we could just keep them out of power. Well, not happy exactly, but I'd settle for it.
He's right, too, about the way they govern like they'll never lose.

Good stuff. Really. Go read.

This is not true.

Think about it for a moment. John Kerry called for a filibuster from Switzerland two hours after it became public that there were not enough votes for a filibuster. That is atrocious. Tinman points out on Breaking Blue the essential point:
If he was serious about it he would have stayed in Washington, held press conferences, lobbied his colleagues and tried to generate as much attention as possible. Since it was just a PR stunt, it wasn't necessary for Kerry to change his travel plans.
And actually, Matt, you do, or at least can, get points for trying. What you don't get points for is quitting.

John Kerry lobbied for a filibuster in caucus with his colleagues before leaving for Davros. His travel plans were changed so that he could return on a 4:30 am flight and be on the floor to participate in a filibuster.

Kerry has a longstanding pledge to support, and if necessary, lead, a filibuster against any Supreme Court nominee he views as a threat to our civil liberties generally, and the right of privacy in matters of reproductive choice specifically. Alito inarguably fits the bill.

I'm not sure, though, that Kerry expected that he would have to lead this one. I don't think he's ever been viewed as a master of process, and this is a procedural matter. He wasn't alone in arguing for a filibuster in caucus, and perhaps he hoped that one of the process wizards in the caucus, maybe even the Leader himself, a legendary process wizard, would take the lead. No leader emerged, and the battlefield was in disarray when Kerry returned from keeping his commitment to the organizers of the World Economic Council to participate on a critical panel.

Kerry picked up the banner of Constitutional government and began to lead a charge. Against the odds? Certainly. Futile? Probably. But the only option is surrender, and the stakes are too high to give up without using every possible measure to stop Samuel Alito's nomination from going forward.

If you think Sam Alito will be a bad justice, you vote no. If you think that's a serious problem, you filibuster. If you've sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, you protect and defend the Constitution. Regardless of the odds. Regardless of the political implications. With every weapon you have. Until the very end.

John Kerry is simply keeping a promise. He promised me that he would filibuster any Supreme Court nominee who would threaten my civil liberties. He promised all of us that he would protect and defend the Constitution.

Karl Rove would love this to be about what's wrong with John Kerry. This time, though, it's the knee-jerk Kerry haters are turning up as part of what's wrong with the Democratic Party.

Filibuster Alito!

Contact Senators Murray and Cantwell now.

Things to do today...

Filibuster Alito!

Contact Senators Murray and Cantwell now.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

To everything, turn, turn, turn,

It has been 933 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Don't forget the Motor City...

This is so cool. It's the end of January and I can still say...

Act locally…

…save the Constitution.

Maria Cantwell:

Washington 202-224-3441 (phone) 202-228-0514 (fax)
Everett 425-303-0114 (phone) 425-303-8351 (fax)
Spokane 509-353-2507 (phone) 509-353-2547 (fax)
Vancouver 360-696-7838 (phone) 360-696-7844 (fax)
Tacoma 253-572-2281 (phone) 253-572-5859 (fax)
Seattle 206-220-6400 (phone) 206-220-6404 (fax)
Richland 509-946-8106 (phone) 509-946-6937 (fax)

Patty Murray:

Washington 202-224-2621 (phone) 202-224-0238 (fax)
Everett 425-259-6515 (phone) 425-259-7152 (fax)
Seattle 206-553-5545 (phone) 206-553-0891 (fax)
Spokane 509-572-3636 (phone) 509-572-9892 (fax)
Vancouver 360-696-7797 (phone) 360-696-7798 (fax)
Yakima 509-453-7462 (phone) 509-453-7731 (fax)

Filibuster Alito!

Contact Senators Murray and Cantwell now.

Hat tip to Lynn Allen at Evergreen Politics.

Fax for free here.


…to Dwight Pelz, the new Chair of the Washington State Democrats. I'd planned to blog a bit more about the whole chair selection process, but it pretty quickly drifted into an unnecessary and unhelpful acrimony. No need to repeat any of it, because happily the candidates were better than the campaign. It came down to a face-off between Pelz and former State Rep. Laura Ruderman, both capable and dedicated Democrats.

Now the hard part starts for Pelz, beginning, I suppose, with an effort to heal some of the rifts exposed by the leadership change. It's a big job, but let's not burden the office with excessive expectations. Pelz has a heavy responsibility, but not this heavy...
…it will be Dwight Pelz's responsibility to ensure that the state party is successful in the 2006 elections cycle - not only on the state and local levels, but also in federal races, which have added importance this year.
I wish it was that easy, that the success of the Party was the burden of a single player. It's not.

Dwight Pelz and the state Party office are tasked with a critical role in directing and coordinating our efforts, making sure resources are available when and where needed, keeping our candidates and issues in the spotlight and being a the face of the Democratic Party.

Success, though, is job one for all of us, and failure rests equally on each of our shoulders. The face of the Democratic Party may reside in the state Party office, but the heart, soul and muscle is in the church basements and Legion halls and labor temples where local Democrats meet.

And the real leaders still show up early to make coffee and stay late to put up chairs.

And now...

And it's not over yet...
Filibuster Alito!

Contact Senators Murray and Cantwell now.

Well, she didn't say no...

...but it sounds like we better keep those calls and emails going...
Dear Mr. Dale,

Thank you for writing to express your views on the nomination of Samuel Alito to be Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court. I appreciate your input on this critical issue.

As you may know, the President nominates individuals to serve on the United States Supreme Court and it is the constitutional responsibility of the Senate to advise and consent on the suitability of those individuals to serve in the position for which they have been nominated. While I am disappointed that President Bush did not choose one of America 's many well-qualified female jurists to replace Justice O'Connor, I look forward to the debate before us.

I take my Constitutional responsibility as a Senator to advise and consent on executive nominations extremely seriously. While I recognize the privilege of the President to select his nominees, I believe it is critical that we conduct a comprehensive evaluation of each nominee's qualifications, since Supreme Court judges are expected to impartially interpret our nation's laws during their lifetime terms. Please be assured that I am committed to making carefully considered and independent judgments on every nominee based on a thorough review of his or her records. Of course, it is vital that any lifetime appointee to the highest court in the nation possess the breadth of experience, character, and wisdom necessary to review the most significant, complex, and far-reaching legal questions of our time

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Finally, you may be interested in signing up for my weekly update for Washington state residents. Every Monday, I provide a brief outline about my work in the Senate and issues of importance to Washington state. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please don't hesitate to contact me if I may be of any assistance in the future.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

Filibuster Alito!

Contact Senators Murray and Cantwell now.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A time to refrain from embracing

It has been 932 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Dear Senator...

Apart from a couple of personalized introductory lines, I've sent the same message to both Senator Murray and Cantwell...

I don't have to explain to you the dangers that this nomination poses to reproductive choice, to civil liberties and, with the nominee's extreme views on the theory of a 'unitary executive,' to our Constitutional system of checks and balances. Still, I understand that the decision to filubuster is a serious one. I think the threats posed by the specter of a Justice Alito are serious enough to merit using every possible resource, including the filibuster, to prevent that occurence.

I know that there are concerns about the political implications of a failed filibuster. Those are real, but they pale compared to the potential gain for our country in the event of success. No decision is without both political and policy risk. This is an instance in which the risks must be taken.

I assure you that regardless of the outcome, if you take those risks, I will use every resource available to me in defense of your decision, and I am confident that I am just one of many for whom that is true.

Please filibuster Samuel Alito.


Shaun Dale
Democratic Precinct Committee Officer
SHL 32-0558
Contact Senators Murray and Cantwell now.

Postscript: Ryan's right. If any of this is useful to you, feel free.

A distress call…

…for upper lefties from Jane Hamsher (my emphasis)...
Just got off a conference call with Ted Kennedy and others, and we got a better idea where the Dems are on all of this.

Some notes:

Maria Cantwell is reportedly quite wobbly, and might be succeptible to pressure. If Cantwell falls, Murray will potentially fall too.
The right response at this point isn't handwringing about why Maria might wobble, or why Patty might follow her down the path. It's time to let them know that there's a community of people who will have their backs if they join the filibuster. It is, after all, not a position without political risks. The Republican noise machine and their media sycophants will attack, and Patty and Maria need to know that they won't have to bear the attacks alone.

Reproductive choice. Civil liberties. The very survival of Constitutional government as we have known it. Those are the stakes.

Click the names to contact Patty and Maria, or use whatever other resources you have or can find. Feel free to share those resources, and any replies you might receive, in comments.

Call, fax or email Senators Murray and Cantwell.

Do it. Do it now. Do it until they're aboard.

41 or fight like hell to get there.

Good Advice.

3. Keep calling the Senators who are undecided or opposed to a filibuster. You can call their DC office all weekend and leave polite but firm voicemails urging the Senators to support Kerry's filibuster. When offices open on Monday 9 a.m. ET, make another round of calls. Let's shut down the Capitol switchboard on Monday!

Maybe not so good.
4. Call the DNC (202-863-8000) and the DSCC (202-224-2447) and tell them your 2006 contributions will depend on the success of the Alito filibuster. Tell them they need to get every Democratic Senator on board.
I get that if the filibuster fails, it will be because there aren't enough Democratic Senators willing to take a stand for Constitutional government in the United States. That's shameful, true, but it's really a subset of a larger problem - there aren't enough Democratic Senators period.

I don't get how withholding grassroots financial support from the DNC or DSCC will help solve either problem.

But damn right, keep calling the undecided and the opposed.

For you, Cal.

And Harvey. And for Em. For all of us, really. Sorry it took so long.

A random selection from the morning…

…till the end of the list
Jefferson Airplane - Fat Angel
Dave Alvin - 11 Months And 29 Days
George Thorogood & The Destroyers - Move It On Over
Robert Earl Keen - Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?
Booker T. & The MGs - Soul Dressing
Ben Folds Five - Army
Kris Kristofferson - Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
Paul Brady - Blue World
Carrie Newcomer - Straight To The Point
The Kinks - Till The End Of The Day

Friday, January 27, 2006

A time you may embrace

It has been 931 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

I wish...

...I had a cute story or clever caption for this, but it's just the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat just sitting there.

What they said.

I was sold on the filibuster before Digby and Kevin weighed in, and I share their dismay that so many on the so-called 'left' have chosen to question, or even criticize, Senators Kerry and Kennedy for taking leadership on the Alito filibuster.

On a practical level it's a daunting challenge, relying, apparently, on the appearance of a mythological beast, the "moderate" Republican. On a political level it may do some short term damage, as the Rovian spinmeisters and their media pets tear us up. On a moral level, for anyone who claims to care about choice, civil liberties or the survival of Constitutional government, it's absolutely necessary.

And not another word of criticism, please, from anyone who has ever used the words "Democrats need a spine."

This is what spine looks like.

Filibuster Alito. If not now, when? If not him, who?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A time of war, a time of peace

It has been 930 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

You can look up and read the whole damn platform…

…or spend 30 seconds with the Chairman.
"One: American jobs that will stay in America, using energy independence to generate those jobs. Two: a strong national defense based on telling the truth to our citizens, our soldiers and our allies. Three: Honesty and integrity to be restored to government. Four: A health care system that works for everybody just like they have in 36 other countries. Five: a strong public education system so we can have optimism and opportunity back in America."
Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.


...from the (wow!) NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams, via the Rude One.
Katrina, though, is different. It displaced two million Americans. It destroyed 350,000 homes. Not all the bodies have been found yet. It exposed cracks in our society. It has us talking about race and class and money and relief. It affected what we pay for gas and what we will pay in taxes. It literally rearranged the map of the Gulf Coast. There are many heroes, but no one villain. Tonight, one of the great American cities is partially in ruins, and many of our fellow citizens are hurting and have nothing left. In some places, nothing's been done yet.
Well, maybe not the whole truth.

'Nothing's been done yet but damage' might be closer to the mark, but Williams is close enough for media work...

That Kerry fella…

…will lead the Scalito filibuster, but with six Democrats apparently going off the rez, it would fall to a principled Republican or two to make it happen. Oh well, nice try.

There's another count underway, though, that should be just as interesting to upper lefties. House "Ethics" Committee Chair Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris, his protégé from the upper right corner of our frontier outpost on the border, have shown up on the vote count for Majority Leader candidate John Boehner.

Now, Boehner has his own set of ethical, ahem, complications, but it's hard not to see their support for the Member from Ohio as anything other than a direct slap at one of their Democratic colleagues from Washington, the Honorable James McDermott, AKA my own personal Congressman.

Boehner is the Newt Gingrich acolyte who's been chasing Jim McDermott through the federal courts for a decade, trying to have McDermott's 1st Amendment rights suspended because they were used to disclose one of the shadier bits of business from the days when Boehner was a faithful soldier in Newt's leadership team. Locals may remember the highlights (if your memory is shaky, you can get the facts here), but the basic gist is simple. Boehner and Newt were busted red-handed in a conspiracy to violate the terms of a deal cut with the House Ethics Committee over some of Gingrich's most egregious activities. A decade of judge shopping has netted Boehner a series of losses and one contested judgement of $60K plus expenses. The whole matter is now back in a Federal District Court which has previously held that McDermott's actions in the contents of an intercepted cell phone conversation were protected under the 1st Amendment.

I'm siding with my own personal Congressman, but however the court case comes down, there's no argument about the basic facts. Gingrich assembled a team and developed a strategy that was in direct contradiction to his agreement with the Ethics Committee, and Boehner was a member of the team and an agent of the strategy.

There's a lot of handwringing about who should be hauled before the Ethics Committee and why, and some knocks on the House D's for not being more involved in restoring the Committee to regular operation. All that seems pretty meaningless, though, in view of Hastings apparent belief that deliberately undermining the work of the Committee isn't a matter for concern, let alone censure, but rather a qualification for Majority Leader.

What was it that Kerry fella said?

Oh, yeah.

"The most crooked, lying bunch I've ever seen."

Right again, Senator.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A time of love, a time of hate

It has been 929 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

"A race against time…"

Damn, I hate what they've done to my Army.
WASHINGTON - Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a "thin green line" that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.

One I've been waiting for...

Dems voting "No"

Murray (WA)


The Nixon Doctrine.

"When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal."
So, how'd that work out for him? Could history repeat?

Hat tip to C&L

The WaPo knows…

some things about Jack Abramoff and the White House…
The disgraced lobbyist raised at least $100,000 for President Bush's reelection campaign. He had long-standing ties to Karl Rove, a key presidential adviser. He had extensive dealings with executive branch officials and departments — one of whom, former procurement chief David H. Safavian, has been charged by federal prosecutors with lying to investigators about his involvement with Mr. Abramoff.

We also know that Mr. Abramoff is an admitted crook…
...and birds of a feather...

Seeing Specter sing...

...the praises of Scaltito reminds me...

Every goddam one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

And a time to every purpose under heaven

It has been 928 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

A constructive reminder…

…from Atrios.
The Dukestir is gone and there's a special election coming up. 50%+ and Francine Busby can win the seat in April, otherwise there will be a runoff in June. Democrats have had excellent luck winning (Chandler, Herseth) or coming close to winning (Hackett) special elections in realtively wingnutty areas, and there's some polling data which adds reason for optimism.
If you're wondering what kind of Democrat Busby is, her campaign site is here, or you can jump straight to the money link.

My kind of Democrat is the kind that will vote for a Democratic Speaker. The rest is detail.

The Judiciary D's set the standard.


There is no reason for any Democrat to vote for Scalito.


We're still the 'big tent' Party…

…but we're getting better at being united without being uniform. Maybe better than ever, according to this from Jonathan Singer...
A new vote analyisis by Congressional Quarterly paints Congressional Democrats' actions in 2005 in a different light, however. Using metrics such as party unity and rate of opposition to measures favored by President Bush, the CQ analysis found that Democrats were more unified in their opposition to Republicans than nearly any other point in the last fifty years -- and these numbers don't even include the Democrats' successful effort to save Social Security from the President's partial privatization plan.
Next time you see a rant that begins "Why don't the Democrats…?" remember that more often than you may think, it seems the Democrats do. Just a few more members on our side and we're not only fighting, but we're winning.

Eyes on the prize.

Monday, January 23, 2006

There is a season, turn, turn, turn,

It has been 927 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

That Kerry fella…

The bottom line is Judge Alito cannot be trusted on the Supreme Court. We can’t trust him to stand up to government abuse of power. We can’t trust him to ensure all citizens enjoy equal protection under the law. We can’t trust him to protect our right to privacy. We can’t trust him to defend mainstream American values.
I don't have a lot of faith in petitions on this kind of thing, but he's right on this one, and if you'd like to chime in the link is here.

Hat tip to The Democratic Daily.

Preznit 30something%...

…returns to his previous ARG low.
Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 34% approve and 60% disapprove.

The ghost of Skeletor.

Belltowner gets it. We're looking at "...a rematch between Maria Cantwell and Slade Gorton, Jr."

No matter what he tells you, this is the enemy.

No matter what they say, this is our friend.

Eyes on the prize.

You're right, Senator McCain.

"Part of the reason is because they wanted to increase the power of the executive branch regardless of the law. They know they were breaking the law and didn't care."
There are criminals in the White House, and you can't escape your share of the blame.

Hat tip to Crooks And Liars.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

To everything, turn, turn, turn,

It has been 926 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...

...the war drags on, the Preznit's a liar, the Republican Congress is a nest of vipers, yada, yada, yada...but great holy cosmic muffin in the sky,

The Seahawks are going to the Superbowl!

All I've really got to say today is...

And now...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A time to gather stones together

It has been 925 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

A not-so-modest proposal…

…from James Carville and Paul Begala is one of the few campaign reform plans I've seen that I could actually get enthusiastic about. No more dialing for dollars by federal incumbents? Sounds like the real deal. They aren't just bragging when they write...
At its core, this plan does something no one will argue with: It forever divorces the corrosive—and sometimes corrupting—effect of campaign cash from members of Congress and presidents. When American citizens look at their Congress and White House, they will say what Alexander Hamilton said to a visitor to the newly-constructed U.S. Capitol: “Here, Sir, the people govern.”
Check it out.

Well goddamn…

Well goddamn…

…hope does spring eternal. The Sun Times, via Political Wire...
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced "he will vote against Judge Sam Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court. And he said so many other senators intensely oppose Alito that they may have enough votes to sustain a filibuster against the conservative jurist..."
So far only on D (Nelson of Nebraska) has given the Alito nomination the nod. Maybe, just maybe…

Anyway, keep those cards, calls, letters, emails, petitions, whatever ya' got, goin'. We may not win, but we haven't lost yet.

The pictures are back...

...so let's have some music. First ten today...
Cannibal & The Headhunters - Land Of 1000 Dances
Jimmy Buffett - Chanson Pour Les Petits Enfants
Frankie Ford - Sea Cruise
Elvis Costello - Watch Your Step
Elvis Presley - Stuck On You
Jefferson Airplane - Crown Of Creation
Gov't Mule - She Said, She Said
Derek & The Dominos - Layla
Ani Difranco - Buildings & Bridges
Jackson Browne - These Days

Please excuse me...

...for a boneheaded screwup (mine) with the folks that host my pictures. Upper Left will be back in full graphic glory ASAP.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A time to cast away stones

It has been 924 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

That Kerry fella...

...on Kos.

Not about, actually on. Or at. Whatever. The Senator weighs in swinging….
Here's a subject suited for true hard ball, on Hardball: four years of failure - enough is enough - why hasn't Osama Bin Laden been captured or killed, and how will he be destroyed before he next appears on tape to spread his disgusting message?
…and there's a thing or two to be learned from a scan of the comments, too, not the least of which is the amount of favorable attention JK receives in a forum I'd expect to be somewhat inhospitable.

There's a class of sayings that I call 'Ben Franklinisms.' The sources are usually obscured, and they tend to state such obvious truths that they're easily dismissed as cliche. 'People like to be noticed' is one that Kerry puts to good use here.

'Never say never' seems be one he's counting on in the future.

Time for your closeup, Ms. Hepcat.

The lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat patiently awaits her audition for the designer cat role in our household drama...

Oh, that's great.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (AP) ...To help reach those goals, a new law will allow the Army to give larger financial bonuses for enlistments and re-enlistments, doubling the maximum payment to $40,000 for new active-duty recruits and to $20,000 for reservists. It will also raise the top age for recruits to 42 from 35. And the top re-enlistment bonus for active-duty soldiers will increase to $90,000 from $60,000.
An Army of middle-aged mercenaries. Don't you feel safer?

Jeebus, I hate what they've done to my Army.

An Open Letter to Chris Matthews

Here it is. You know what to do.


Your friendly, liberal, neighborhood…

...Islamic Resistance Movement.
Hamas is paying a spin doctor $180,000 (£100,000) to persuade Europeans and Americans that it is not a group of religious fanatics who relish suicide bombings and hate Jews.
Uh huh...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A time to dance, a time to mourn

It has been 923 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

A real debate that America needs…

…according to that Kerry fella.

"If the administration had done the job right in Tora Bora we might not be having discussions on Hardball about a new Bin Laden tape. How dare Scott McClellan tell America that this Administration puts terrorists out of business when had they put Osama Bin Laden out of business in Afghanistan when our troops wanted to, we wouldn't have to hear this barbarian's voice on tape. That's what we should be talking about in America."

So maybe he's not exactly on message…

…but I can't really disagree with Steny Hoyer's take...

Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said the Republicans, not lax regulations, were to blame for the ethics scandals. "It is not the rules that are the issue, it's the character of the players that is the issue here," Hoyer said in an interview. "That is what I want to focus on, the culture of corruption."
Bribery, after all, was against the rules when they took the bribes.

Sometimes good enough is.

David Sirota and others are all atwitter about the inadequacies of the Democrat's Honest Leadership And Open Government Act. Frankly, I think an excessive focus on the need for bigger, better, brighter rules misses the real point regarding the GOP culture of corruption. The problem hasn't been a lack of rules. What's right and what's wrong under the current rules isn't hard to figure out for an adult human being with a functional moral compass. The problem hasn't been a lack of rules, it's been a lack of regard for the rules, whether they be explicitly stated or simply the kind of kindergarten ethics - don't steal, don't lie, don't hit your classmates - that should be understood whether or not they're codified.

That's why the specific contents of any ethics package don't matter all that much. The fact is, most folks expect that their own personal Member of Congress gets treated to some pretty good lunches, goes to parties the rest of us never get invited to and never pay parking tickets. Most folks don't mind that kind of thing so much. Being a Member of Congress is, in fact, kind of special, and Congresscritters are bound to get some degree of special treatment and attention.

On the other hand, whether there's a rule or not, most folks understand what bribery, theft and extortion are, and most folks know that's wrong, no matter how special you may be. They expect their representatives to know where the line is, and to stay on the right side of it, regardless of what the official rules may be.

Still, there are rules, and there are going to be new rules. Odds are that the Democratic package will be passed over in favor of the Republican package. The merits of the plans won't be meaningfully debated, though they'll be widely - and doubtless loudly - discussed. In the end, the new rules will be adopted on a partisan vote. We're left, then with coming up with a plan that's essentially a campaign tool.

The Stakeholder has details and the rationale for each point, but I think the headers alone show that some pretty savvy political minds were at work on this one. Here's the plan in it's short form…
The Tony Rudy Reform: Close the Revolving Door.

The Ralph Reed Reform: Toughen Public Disclosure of Lobbyist Activity.

The Jack Abramoff Reform: Ban Lobbyist Gifts and Travel.

The Grover Norquist Reform: Shut Down Pay-to-Play Schemes Like the “K Street Project.”

The Scully & Tauzin Reform: Disclosure of Outside Job Negotiations.

The Frist & Hastert Reform: Prohibit “Dead of Night” Special Interest Provisions.

The Halliburton Reform: Zero Tolerance for Contract Cheaters.

The Brownie Reform: Prohibit Cronyism in Key Appointments.
Is it a perfect plan, from a good government purist's perspective? Probably not. It's an improvement over the current rules, though, and, for now, good enough.
It's also a beautifully expressed plan, if you're a Democratic candidate whose opponent can be tied to a name that's become synonymous with some kind of reform needed because of some kind of corruption. In this, it's briefest iteration, the message is clear. We need reform because the Republican Congress is riddled with crooks.

Time for the naysayers to realize they're not going to get what they want by way of a reform plan, whether the Democrats promote every conceivable element of the goo-goo vision or not. Our plan just won't pass in this Congress.

It's time to accept this plan for what it is, and to use it for what it's good for, which is to implement the ultimate Frist & Hastert reform - a new Democratic Congress.

Quote of the Day.

"I was raised with American values, that good companies take care of workers. Wal-Mart is changing the rules. We're at a crucial point where society needs to decide whether we're going to follow them on this race to the bottom, or not."

Craig Cole, President of the independent grocery chain, Brown and Cole.
Heck, credit him with the runner up, too.
"Wal-Mart is like a form of social pollution. If we let an oil company dump waste into Puget Sound, it could make cheaper gas. But we don't let them, because it degrades the environment.

"Well, what Wal-Mart is doing degrades American workers. And not just their own."
The quotes are from a Danny Westneat column in the Seattle Times about a legislative proposal to force Wal-Mart to do business in a socially responsible fashion if they're going to do business in the Upper Left. They don't like that? Let them leave. We'll be well served by local businessmen like Cole, who, as Westneat reports, "...buys health insurance for 95 percent of his 1,500 workers, including any who work 20 hours per week. He also insures their families." That's the kind of business that pro-business Democrats (and there really isn't any other kind) should absolutely fall in love with. That's the kind of business worth expending a little political capital to promote and protect.

There are 29 Brown and Cole stores spread across the Upper Left, operating with names like Cost Cutter, Food Pavilion, Food Depot and $ave-On-Food$. There aren't any in King County, but if you're off yonder somewhere, there may be one near you. Look them up, and when you need to stock the pantry, consider rewarding good behavior.

Hat tip to CitizenSteve at Washington Outsiders.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A time to build up, a time to break down

It has been 922 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Which Side Are You On?

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

Benjamin Franklin, American Patriot

"I don't agree with the libertarians. I want my security first. I'll deal with all the details after that."

Trent Lott, Republican Bedwetter

It's not just us...

"Military people past and present have good reason to wonder if the current administration truly values their service beyond its immediate effect on its battlefield of choice. The casting of suspicion and doubt about the actions of veterans who have run against President Bush or opposed his policies has been a constant theme of his career. This pattern of denigrating the service of those with whom they disagree risks cheapening the public's appreciation of what it means to serve...."

Vietnam Veteran and Former (Reagan) Navy Secretary James Webb
Shorter Jim Webb:
Bush hates veterans.

Hat tip to Steve M. at No More Mr. Nice Blog.

In fact…

…they're the most lying, crooked bunch he's ever seen.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the president of the United States has been breaking the law, repeatedly and insistently.


BLITZER: Do you agree with him?


has the full transcript. Lots of good stuff from that Kerry fella…

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

And a time to every purpose under heaven

It has been 921 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.


...he said he'd appoint justices like Thomas and Scalia.

Good news, anyway.

Al Gore's absolutely right.

I think.

The President's behavior is criminal and ignoring that threat has created a clear and present danger to Constitutional government in the United States.

Much as I may agree with what I gather he said, though, several attempts to wade through the entire transcript have yielded little success. A hat tip, then, to all who are busy digesting and excerpting it for those of us with shorter attention spans. Meanwhile, anyone who praises the rhetorical construction of the speech, as opposed to its actual point, should be disqualified from making dismissive comments about John Kerry's supposedly ecessively 'Senatorial' style.

My dips into the transcript did reveal this gem of a notion, though, drawn from one of the more eloquent passages...
It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.
Exactly so.

OK, he's waving the bloody shirt, but it works because it's true. Americans have not fallen in battle under the banner of diminished liberties. The kids in the recruiting ads are always talking about protecting our freedom, never restricting it. The bedwetters who run around hollering "Take my freedoms and save me, Daddy!" are the worst of us, not the best, and dishonor all who serve or have served. It's a theme Democrats should broadly adopt.

(I'll grant you, reading isn't hearing. Al may have delivered a speech that overcame the text. The clips I've seen are unpersuasive, though...)

From the Things That Make Me Go Hmm file...

I've gotta admit, reading this made me look...
Judge Samuel Alito's nomination to serve on the Supreme Court will be voted on by the Committee on Jan. 24 and the full Senate is to begin debate the following day.

Leahy says he has "assured Chairman Specter that no Democratic Senator" will ask for a second delay in the vote, and Specter, according to Leahy, does not expect any delays coming from the GOP.
…but shucks, Jeffords isn't on the Judiciary committee.

Monday, January 16, 2006

There is a season, turn, turn, turn

It has been 920 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

It's not over…

…until Uncle Walter says so.
"It's my belief that we should get out now."
It's over.

Hat tip to Eric at Tough Enough.




...from Martin Luther King, Jr. County, WA. Wishing you a thoughtful holiday.

Now that you mention it…

"I’m beginning to think that the only thing that may save us from the seemingly unstoppable conservative movement in its current, anti-democratic incarnation is an allegiance between ethical, traditional conservatives and real progressives, who share in common a respect for democracy, the Constitution, and civil liberties…"
...I think Shake's Sis is on to something. If the "ethical, traditional conservatives" could wrest control of the Republican Party from the gangsters and destructionists, we'd all be better off, too, but there's a dearth of such conservatives in evidence these days.

They're out there, though, as the joint appearance of Al Gore and Bob Barr demonstrates. It's just that without our help, they're even more ineffectual than we are without theirs.

In the fight to save Constitutional government in the United States, thought, 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' may be wise, if cautiously pursued, policy.

Book news…

…or not. US News says that Colin Powell is pondering a new book, except "He doesn't want to dis the prez and is concerned that a publisher will want him to air all that dirty laundry over the start of the war in Iraq."

That's one way to put it, I suppose. Or you could say he doesn't want to write if he has to tell the truth.

Because they just lie.

And make no mistake, he's one of them.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

To everything, turn, turn, turn,

It has been 919 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Sorry, John.

Despite high praise from important people hither and yon, you sound more like an ass than a donkey to me this time.

I mean, this is what set you off?
Republicans say that Mr. Bush, in making conservative judicial choices, has been doing precisely what he said he would do in both of his presidential campaigns. Indeed, they say, his re-election, and the election of a Republican Congress, meant that the choices reflected the views of much of the American public.
Republicans say something something stupid, and that's "…more evidence of why there needs to be a major blood-letting in the Democratic party, and soon." Right. Self-flagellation will drive the evil spirits from the body politic.

Come on, John. Name names. Who do you want out? Dean? Pelosi? Reid? Ranking members like Conyers and Kennedy? Blue Dogs like Jack Murtha would be natural poster boys for the purge, I suppose. Heads, after all, don't just need to roll. They need to "ROLL." "En masse."

Which serves the goal of a Democratic majority I'm not sure how. We just keep replacing folks until the our Congresscritters learn how to win while in the minority, maybe. Nah, maybe not. Maybe we need to be talking about who to add to our ranks, not who to toss, until we've got some folks to spare.

I understand that when someone stronger takes advantage of you, a tantrum can be emotionally satisfying. The energy would probably be more profitably invested in getting stronger yourself, though.

Look, we're going to lose on Alito. It's a bitch. We're going to lose most of the time until we control some piece of the federal government, and some of the time until we control it all. The question for Democrats isn't 'who should we dump,?' it's 'which way to the gym?'.

And now...

Everything I need to know about Jack Murtha…

…I learned from my own personal Congressman.
"There is no other Member of Congress who more ably represents the conscience of America than Democrat Rep. John Murtha, a decorated combat veteran and a staunch supporter of America's defense."
That's the truth, and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A time to laugh, a time to weep

It has been 918 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

A sober message from the memory hole…

…via Politus.

Who'da thunk…

…that your Seattle Seahawks could spot the champions of the other Washington the NFL MVP and three turnovers and still dispatch them to the off season by a score of 20-10 (yeah, I was off a point. I blame the Alexander factor).

Oliver was very gracious, though, so I'm not going to gloat…much…but, hey…

Go Hawks!

From the Waiting for the Playoffs department.

A playlist.
Cream - Sunshine Of Your Love
Gary US Bonds - Quarter To Three
Three Dog Night - Never Been To Spain
Joan Baez - It Ain't Me Babe
Chambers Brothers - Time Has Come Today
Peter Tosh - Equal Rights
Flying Burrito Brothers - Sin City
Tim O'Brien - Norwegian Wood
Kinks - You Really Got Me
Rickie Lee Jones - Hi-Lili Hi-Lo
and a prediction.
Seahawks 21, Redskins 10
Sorry, Oliver.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A time to kill, a time to heal

It has been 917 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

No, nay, never…

No Ney never no more?

Gratuitous cat blogging…

…because the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat has come to expect it.


"Our nation's capital has been overrun by organized crime — Tom DeLay-style."

Give 'em hell, Harry!


"We simply have too much power. We Republicans have abused that power badly over the past several years."

Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona

While you're waiting nervously…

…for that 'positive Democratic agenda' everyone seems to think we need to emerge (although I always thought that that was what this is for), Digby went digging in the memory hole and came up with this encouraging note...
It pays to keep in mind that the 1994 Republicans didn't put out their "Contract On America" until six weeks before the election. They've pretended that it won them the election but that's a joke. (They did use bogus polling to give that impression.) What won that election was relentless criticism over the course of many months leading up to it. They built upon a reserve of discontent about a slow economic recovery by placing the blame for everything squarely on the "liberals" and the Democratic party. Their "positive" agenda was just gilding the lilly.
Actually, 'Get rid of the crooked bastards' sounds like a pretty positive agenda to me.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

If his basic dishonesty wasn't enough…

this should be enough to stop Scalito.
The single most important thing a senator can do to support abortion rights is to vote against Supreme Court nominees who would take such rights away. Given Judge Alito's record and his testimony, it is hard to see how Senators Specter, Chafee, Snowe and Collins - or any other pro-choice senators - can call themselves strong advocates of abortion rights if they support him.
Not that it will be, mind you, but it damn sure should be.

A time to plant, a time to reap

It has been 916 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

This is good news…

…from the latest Pew report.

Withdrawal may be a point or two from a majority position, but it's hardly marginal anymore, and the Republican insistence that it is, that half of Americans are somehow un-American, only demonstrates the radicalism that the GOP has succumbed to.

Bush will end his war as Nixon ended his, because we will make him.

On the other hand, this isn't.

The almost casual acceptance of the notion that 'they're all crooks' is one of the greatest dangers to the political health of our nation. Citizens must demand better government, and we must make them know that Democrats stand ready to deliver better government.

It won't take a new round of legislation, though that will doubtless come in cascades. The kind of wholesale bribery and extortion that has been a matter of policy for the Republican caucus is against the current rules and a variety of criminal statutes.

But it's simply not true that they all do it. Most don't. Most folks who go from wherever to Washington, DC are decent people with a genuine desire to serve the folks at home well. Unfortunately for the honest Republican members, they were simultaneously elected into a criminal enterprise, and are tainted by virtue of their acceptance of their leader's corruption as commonplace.

'They're all crooks' is a Republican argument because, well, to one degree or another, by act or association, they are all crooks. It's the world that sustains them, the only world they know.

We must demand a better government, one in which bribery and extortion are considered crimes, not strategy. Democrats, too, have had their scandals and scoundrels, but have never institutionalized criminal conduct to the degree that was achieved by the Gingrich and DeLay machines in the House of Representatives.

America can do better. It's easy. It's kindergarten ethics. Don't lie. Don't steal. Don't cheat.

But it's going to take the Democrats to do it.

Sic em', Patty!

"...I will not join the rush to scapegoat those tribes who have already been victimized by Abramoff. Your easy answer would be fine if all I wanted was to score cheap points on being "clean."

But as someone who has stood as a partner with Native Americans and championed tribal sovereignty, I'm proud of their support. Your editorial asks, "How would she like to repeat that riff 25 times a day for the next five years ... ?"

I would rather repeat my support for tribes 25 times a day than to even once say "tribal money is tainted" just to make myself look better."
Senator Murray is right, and it's important to set the record straight before the Republican bribery scandal is used to foster more anti-Indian sentiment and to disguise the identities of the real culprits.

While everyone who benefited from the $172,933 in personal funds distributed by bribery convict Jack Abramoff should promptly find a better home for it, I'm dubious of the calls for everyone who ever benefited from the interest of an Abramoff client should return their contributions.

First, as Senator Murray points out, the tribes were among Abramoff's victims, not his accomplices. The role of co-conspirator was played by Republican Congresscritters. That doesn't mean, though, whether because of or despite Abramoff's advice, they didn't make any number of perfectly legal and perfectly appropriate contributions to Senators and Representatives who have demonstrated a record of support for tribal interests and tribal sovereignty. Prominent examples include Senator Murray, Senator Reid and Representative Kennedy. Others, including our own Senator Cantwell, have reviewed the contributions they received and determined they were, in fact, inappropriate. I respect their judgment in their own cases, but I don't see that judgment as universally applicable. It's noteworthy that we've heard no call from the tribes for refunds. Indian people know who their real friends are, now, perhaps, more than ever.

While some call for all Democrats to return all the money from tribes associated with Abramoff, it's important that we not give the Republicans fuel for their specious 'everybody does it' defense. Putting a taint on every tribal contribution with an Abramoff connection is blaming the victim, casting an unwarranted aspersion at tribes that were simply exercising their rights as citizens to petition their government and participate in elections. It's also adding a bit of bait to the kind of Rovian trap Democrats should have long since learned to avoid.

Kudos to Senator Murray for taking a big step toward setting the record straight, and a hat tip to Brenda at Washington State Political Report.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A time to be born, a time to die

It has been 915 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Hey, I can't explain it …

…but Joe Lieberman's real popular with the home folks. Maybe it's time for progressives to drop the subject and get around to the business of beating Republicans.

Not that he should be snark-proof or anything, but there are better places for resources than a seemingly futile campaign against a vote for Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Like I was saying…

Preznit 30something%.

"…a Republican scandal…

...and any attempt to portray it otherwise is a misdirection."

Hey, it's not just me. That's Rich Lowry in the National Review.

And it's not just Delay. It's not just Nye. It's not just a scandal. The entire Republican operation, in the House, in the Senate, in the White House, is scarcely more than a criminal enterprise. Republicanism as an expression of conservatism in the American body politic is dead. They're radical, they're destructionist and they're crooks and liars, or willingly led by crooks and liars.

Time to clean house.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

And a time to every purpose under heaven.

It has been 914 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Be Afraid.

Be very afraid.
China has resolved to shift some of its foreign exchange reserves -- now in excess of $800 billion -- away from the U.S. dollar and into other world currencies in a move likely to push down the value of the greenback, a high-level state economist who advises the nation's economic policymakers said in an interview Monday.


…but not quite the whole truth. Mark Schmitt comes close...
Abramoff did lots of terrible things and should go to jail, but never forget that every single criminal and unethical act of his was made possible by a public official.
…but precision demands that we point out that every single criminal and unethical act of his was made possible by a Republican public official.

Monday, January 09, 2006

There is a season, turn, turn, turn

It has been 913 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

From the 'Quotations from Chairman Dean' file.

Howie lays it down.
Every person named in this scandal is a Republican. Every person under investigation is a Republican. Every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal.
Every one a Republican.

A Republican scandal.

The hits just keep on coming...

AUSTIN, Texas - The state's highest criminal court on Monday denied Rep. Tom DeLay's request that the money laundering charges against him be dismissed or sent back to a lower court for an immediate trial.
Seems like the entire Texas judiciary is in on that conspiracy the Bugman's always ranting about.


It's really all you need to know. Hearings? Hell, we already know he's the kind of schmuck who'll say anything to get a job.

Wake me up when he embarasses himself...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

To everything, turn, turn, turn

It has been 912 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

The truth...

…dumbed down so that even the dullest pundit or pol should be able to get it. Mark Kleiman explains it all...
Not a corrupt Majority Leader or a corrupt lobbyist: a corrupt system run by and for a corrupt party.
That's why…

Redcoats in the White House?

Good questions from Glenn Greenwald, via The News Blog.
Why don't they call themselves what they are when we first had this argument, Tories. They could even call for the return of Queen Elizabeth as our sovereign leader. If they want a monarchy, why don't they just call for one.

From the 'OK, I'm a fossil' file...

I see that Snohomish County, with the support of the Democratic majority on the County Council, has gone the way of all mail elections. County Executive Ron Sims has his own proposal in the works for King County. The notion seems to be generally well received in the progressive blogosphere, but I find myself saddened.

Part of it's nostalgia. I remember childhood election days as the only days my Mom would walk us to school, so that she could go into the gymnasium and enter a curtained booth to cast her ballot. It seemed like everyone had a parent in tow those days, with lines of moms and dads taking their turn at publicly exercising their franchise, collectively demonstrating the most fundamental responsibility of citizenship.

It made and impression on me, a lasting one, and every election day, whether the ballot is topped by a Presidential ticket or a sewer levy, I proudly join my similarly traditionalist neighbors and cast my vote in person. If that is, as I believe, my fundamental responsibility as a citizen, and that acting in the public square is an inherently valuable part of that act, then it would seem that the government has a corresponding responsibility to afford me a place to do so.

Alas, it is no longer to be, I'm afraid. Though there's talk of some legacy polling places, they'll be distant for most, and no one will be likely to encounter their children's classmates in the parking lot or that friendly guy from across the street whose name you can't quite place at the next polling booth.

It will never be the same.

Part of it's the political consultant in me coming out. 'Twas a time when an absentee program was a managable affair. It just came down to the dollars, really. If you could afford it, your mail vendor would make sure that every absentee voter got a brochure coincident with their ballot. If you couldn't afford it, you had to hope against a close election. There weren't all that many absentees then, but it was dangerous to take them for granted.

Of course, there were all kinds of assumptions made about who those voters were and what their voting behavior was. The basic assumption was that the ballot would be in the return mail within 36 hours or so, so you really got one good shot at their attention. As the number of postal voters has grown, in no small part due to the organized efforts of the state Democratic Party, it seems that more ballots are being returned later in the cycle. That's one of the reasons for delays in the results of some close races, and it looks like a nightmare from a campaign management standpoint to me.

If people are holding an unmarked ballot for a week, or two, or a month, every day holds the potential for a different voting decision. Every campaign that can will have to find a way to put a message in front of that voter every day until that decision is made. That means the last minute blitz that usually surrounds election day, all that mail, all those hits, all the responses, all the blood and gore of election day will start weeks earlier, and take a dramatically greater financial toll.

This might be particularly costly for the winners of contested primaries unless the state finally takes action to move our September primary forward on the calendar. Given the increased campaign costs that are bound to be associated with winning all mail elections, there will be little opportunity for candidates to financially refuel for a similarly costly general election, which will necessarily begin immediately.

And where will all this money come from, you might ask? Don't ask.

I don't know. Maybe I'm just a grumpy old guy, a relic of the 20th century.

One thing is certain. Andrew is right on the money when he writes "...the very concept of Election Day is fading away." I'm just not at all certain that's a good thing for our democracy.

And now...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I’ve had enough of watching scenes

It has been 911 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

If he never goes to jail…

…I think I can live with this.
Embattled Rep. Tom DeLay on Saturday abandoned his bid to remain as House majority leader, clearing the way for leadership elections among Republicans eager to shed the taint of scandal.
Inherent in liberalism, I think, is a certain amount of optimism, reflected in the belief that in the end, a constitutional government of laws can survive the predations of those who would betray the common good for personal wealth and power. It's always nice to see that optimism justified.

Tom DeLay is gone from the Republican leadership because the ruling principle in the Republican caucus is fear. Fear of continued disclosures. Fear of embarrassing connections. Fear of lost elections. Every one of them entangled with the Bug Man is hearing footsteps and looking for a way out, and every one of them is entangled with the Bug Man in one way or another.

Tom's done, and they're all on the run. Time to turn out the hounds!

Havin' a wildcard weekend.

Here's the soundtrack so far...
Peter Tosh - Legalize It
Jimmy Buffett - Cheeseburger In Paradise
Blondie - One Way Or Another
Everlast - What It's Like
Norah Jones - Come Away With Me
Kinks - You Really Got Me
Randy Newman - Political Science
Townes Van Zandt - Colorado Girl
Prince - When Doves Cry
Bare Naked Ladies - Brian Wilson

Actually, I'm a pretty cool guy...

...for a, well, nerd.

Pure Nerd
60 % Nerd, 30% Geek, 26% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.



Blame the cooler than I Chris Woods.

What are their names?

And on what street do they live?
I want to run right over this afternoon and give
them a piece of my mind...
A secret Pentagon study has found that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. That armor has been available since 2003 but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.
During the time in question, any action, or lack of, by "the Pentagon" is the personal responsibility of George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. Every life in their hands, every drop of blood soaking those hands.

God damn them to hell.

Friday, January 06, 2006

All I want is the truth, just gimme some truth now

It has been 910 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.


Love the coinage. Via Oliver...

Murtha was criticized during a Pentagon news conference Thursday, when the chairman of the joint chiefs said Murtha’s weekend criticism was “damaging” troop recruitment efforts.

In a statement released by Murtha, the decorated Marine veteran responded that the real damage to recruitment comes from prolonged deployments, inadequate equipment, and the “lack of any connection between Iraq and the brutal attacks of 9/11.”
Reject the premise of the attack, repeat with your original point. Bang. Murthanized.
Seems to me the recruiters were in a bit of a pickle long before Rep. Murtha sounded off, anyway...

Had to step away for a bit...

...but the lovely, talented and ever vigilant Miss Audrey Hepcat took up her post in defense of the blog...

I'm back, Aud. At ease.

That's nice, I suppose...

WASHINGTON -- Former Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Wash., has donated to charity $1,000 he received from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, his office said Thursday.

Nethercutt, now a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., received the money during his unsuccessful 2004 campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
...though it doesn't seem to cover the $500 that Nethercutt took from Abramoff for an earlier House race. Maybe George figures that only money from unsuccessful campaigns is tainted.

And why aren't we hearing more about the thousand bucks credited to the account of the Chair of the House Ethics Committee from the personal resources of the latest poster boy for the Republican culture of corruption.

What's up, Doc?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Money for dope, money for rope.

It has been 909 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

"The truth is…

...Gingrich is a smarmy, dishonest and corrupt politician."
Hat tip Sweeping bow to David Sirota, for blowing the whistle on Newt's high-minded hand wringing about the culture of corruption he was instrumental in designing. Read it all.

Good question…

…from the best thing about the Clinton administration, Robert Reich, via Tom Paine.
What’s the point of economic growth if most people aren’t any more prosperous?

Colloquy of the Day

JACK SPADARO, former Director, National Mine Academy: We know from the record that the mine, in particular in the past year, has been cited over 180 times for violations of federal mine health and safety law and regulations. And about 90 of those violations were called serious and substantial violations of the law. So we know that it was a very unsafe mine and that there were serious problems with mine ventilation and roof control.

ALAN COLMES: Are you saying that these men should not have been allowed to go down there?

SPADARO: Yes, sir.

COLMES: You're saying this mine should not have been open?

SPADARO:This mine should have been closed. And there were too many serious violations. And the record is very clear.

COLMES: Why was it open then? If you, as a safety expert, feels it should not have been, why was it open?

SPADARO: I think it's because of the current Bush administration's policies toward mine operators and their reluctance to take the strong enforcement action that's sometimes necessary.

And that often involves closing a mine.
Twelve more for the Bushco™ death toll

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

With just a pocketful of soap

It has been 908 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

The paucity of posts...

...today isn't a product of blog neglect. I took some time for a long overdue revamp of the Upper Left blogroll, excising dead links and abandoned blogs and adding some of the sites I actually look at on a regular basis.

I encourage you to skim the list to your right and click on an unfamiliar name or two. Good stuff behind every link.

Fallen idols.

Holden's focus was on the George and Jack connection, but the bit in bold is what really caught my eye...
In May 2001, Jack Abramoff’s lobbying client book was worth $4.1 million in annual billing for the Greenberg Traurig law firm. He was a friend of Bush advisor Karl Rove. He was a Bush “Pioneer,” delivering at least $100,000 in bundled contributions to the 2000 campaign. He had just concluded his work on the Bush Transition Team as an advisor to the Department of the Interior. He had sent his personal assistant Susan Ralston to the White House to work as Rove’s personal assistant. He was a close friend, advisor, and high-dollar fundraiser for the most powerful man in Congress, Tom DeLay.
True enough, perhaps, in May, 2001, but would anyone use those words to describe Tom DeLay today? Will they ever again?

Sometimes you win something, even if you don't win it all.

And the games have just begun.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me

It has been 907 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Who'da thunk…

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gets the most laughs during oral arguments. During the nine month term beginning in October 2004, Scalia instigated 77 “laughing episodes...”
Though you might'a guessed...
Clarence Thomas had the fewest with no laughs.

Hat tip to Taegan Goddard.

What was it…

…that brought down Duke Cunningham again? Oh, yeah, bribery
23. In exchange for these things of value, from in or about March 2000 through in or about April 2004, defendant ABRAMOFF, Scanlon and others, together and separately, sought and received Representative # 1's agreement to perform a series of official acts to benefit defendant ABRAMOFF's clients, and advancing the application of a client of defendant ABRAMOFF for a license to install wireless telephone infrastructure in the House of Representatives.
Representative #1. The once and future indictee?

Yeah or Ney?

Good question…

…from Dave Johnson at Seeing The Forest.
Why do we have a Constitution at all, except to prevent the kind of abuse Bush is engaging in?

Where it's dark as a dungeon…

...damp as the dew
danger is double pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls the sun never shines
It's a dark as a dungeon way down in the mine.

If you do anything like prayer, the folks in West Virginia could use your efforts.

It doesn't take anything like a revelation from the cosmic muffin, though, to understand that this is intolerable in 2006.
In recent years, the mine has been cited repeatedly for a variety of health and safety violations by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. In a recent 11-week review period that ran from October through December, the agency's inspectors cited the mine for 46 alleged violations of mine health and safety rules and levied almost $3,000 in fines.

The most serious violations included problems with protections against roof cave-ins and the mine's overall plans to safeguard against methane gas and dust buildup.
Forty six violations in eleven weeks. Three thousand dollars in fines.

That's about sixty five bucks apiece. Not even a stiff traffic ticket in these parts. Or, if you prefer, two hundred and thirty dollars for each of the thirteen lives in jeopardy as I write.

I'm waiting for a response from the 'culture of life' crowd that transcends piety, please.

Monday, January 02, 2006

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky

It has been 906 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Good question…

…from John at AMERICAblog.
Exactly how has Bush made America any safer in the past 4 years?

The Bush Barn® Rule.

We break it, you buy it.
When the last of the $18.4 billion is spent, U.S. officials in Baghdad have made clear, other foreign donors and the fledgling Iraqi government will have to take up what authorities say is tens of billions of dollars of work yet to be done merely to bring reliable electricity, water and other services to Iraq's 26 million people.
If the findings of the WaPo article that's sweeping the blogosphere today surprise you, you just haven't been paying attention. The truth is out there, but it seems you have to ask a soldier...
"The U.S. never intended to completely rebuild Iraq," Brig. Gen. William McCoy, the Army Corps of Engineers commander overseeing the work, told reporters at a recent news conference.
And it's a good thing we didn't, I suppose, because we don't seem to be very good at it...
"For every three steps forward, we take one step back. Those are the conditions we face," said Col. Bjarne Iverson, commander of the reconstruction operations center.
So, if we're not going to rebuild the country and their elections were so damn successful, what are we doing that's worth one more American life?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

All I want is the truth now, just gimme some truth

It has been 905 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

I really never bought into the tale…

…that Ronald Reagan 'won' the Cold War. There were any number of factors that contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union, and while Reagan's economically crippling levels of military investment may have made a contribution, I'm not at all sure that it was particularly decisive.

As time has gone on, it's become increasingly unclear that there was a victory in any meaningful sense at all. Some analysis of our present condition by Dave Johnson makes the key points plain.
So how is the neo-con dream playing out? Russia and China benefit from having the U.S. bogged down in perpetual war against an invisible "enemy" many thousands of miles away. But "Radical Islam" just happens to be their enemy, not ours. It is a disruptive social movement on or inside their borders, not ours, but here we are fighting their war for them. Meanwhile China winds up with the manufacturing that used to be done here and holding the paper for massive U.S. debt. We spend our budget on military while their money is freed up for massive infrastructure investment. Iran winds up with Iraq as a client state.
And we're supposed to be the world's preeminent power in a post Cold War era?

If we won, just what, exactly, did we win? And when did we lose it again?

And now...