Wednesday, January 31, 2007


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you
forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be
outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that
freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and
celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who
come after how much fun it was."

Molly Ivins

1944 - 2007

She was one of ours, and she was one of the best.

Rest in peace just doesn't seem to fit. If there's a heaven, she's no doubt raising hell there tonight.

Hat tip to jnfr for the quotation.

Good question.

Specialist Ryan Schmidt, MN National Guard...
For some of us that are over here, particularly me, my unit, we all feel, what’s the point of us being extended if your initial plan to send more troops over here does not work? What are you going to do, Mr. President?
Actually, a great question.

Circular Firing Squad Watch

Joe Biden comes into the race with a fairly firm grasp on the number six spot on my personal list of the top five Democratic prospects for '08, but that's got little to do with anything he's got to say about his competition.

Whatever you may think of his judgment of Senator Obama, though, it's worth noting that over the course of the extended campaign period we're experiencing this time around, it's likely that every one of our candidates will say something intemperate, ambiguous, misguided or arguably offensive. If we're going to declare them all D.O.A. when the inevitable occurs, we might as well concede the election now and save a lot of time, money and trouble.

Personally, I think John Edwards, and by extension all of the Americans who agree on the need for a prompt withdrawal from Iraq (waving my own hand in the air here) got the worst of Biden's fire, anyway.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Via Truthdig...
With more and more witnesses contradicting Libby’s account of events, his trial is starting to feel like a technicality on the way to a pardon.

How many?


How many more?

Good point.

Man of American Dissent anticipates Dick "Dick" Cheney's upcoming appearance at the Libby trial...
I know he’ll swear to tell the truth and all that, but he also swore to uphold and defend the Constitution twice, and we can see how well that’s been going for the past six years.
He swears on the Senate floor, too, I hear...

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Republicanist amendment…

…to a Kennedy classic, via Carl.
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

Except higher taxes…


From Todd at The Blue State
"The insurgents decide how long an insurgency lasts."
Always have. Still do.

I'm a bit behind the curve...

...but it's never too late to do the right thing. David "Goldy" Goldstein, northwest blogging's gift to talk radio and local activist extraordiaire, is in the latter stages of a pledge week campaign. Though I've been notably unsuccessful in getting folks to hit the PayPal button around here (though not completely. My benefactors know who they are, and hopefully know how grateful I am.) I've had somewhat better luck getting people to pony up for various causes and campaigns. Hopefully a pitch for Goldy will generate similar success.

Locals know who he is, and why they should give. If you haven't, do. Folks from more distant parts? Our local treasure deserves your support, too, if for nothing more than his takedown of Michael "Heckuva job, Brownie" Brown (Goldy was the guy who brought Brown's failed tenure as counsel for the Arabian Horse Association to our attention). There are plenty more reasons, though, to click over and toss something into his tip jar or buy a blog ad. We need to keep him working for us.

As for my PayPal button, well...

For those who still insist…

…that there are "good" Republicans, I offer those ladies from Maine.
Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) still-unannounced presidential campaign picked up two endorsements today when both of Maine’s Republican senators — Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — announced that they will serve as co-chairs of McCain’s exploratory committee in Maine.
Sure, he's for an escalation they say they're against, he voted to eliminate a minimum wage they say they want to raise, he's against the choice they say women should have, yada, yada, yada.

But they want him to be your Preznit.

Uh huh.

Like I always say sometimes, when the chips are down…

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Busy day ahead...

so here's an always appropriate post, courtesy of Norbizness, to occupy you 'til I get back.
"Hey! Somebody on a web site you've never heard of wrote something agreeable about somebody that you might have heard of, who were themselves offering an ill-advised and reactionary opinion about a current event. They are both fools of the highest order!"

And now...

...a passage from the Prairie Populist.
"Shall the people rule, is an issue which all people can understand. Shall this be a people's government or a government of syndicates, by syndicates and for syndicates?"

William Jennings Bryan,

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Good point.

"Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial died after America's leaders knew that our strategy in that war was not working."
Good plan.
Set a deadline.
Good deed.
Sign up.

Tune time...

Desmond Dekker & The Aces - 007
Black 47 - Green Suede Shoes
John Hammond, Jr. - Cross Road Blues
The Clarks - Bona Fide
Dave Mattews - Crash Into Me
Homesick James Williamson - Dust My Broom
Jim Roll - Eddie Rode The Orphan Train
Suzy Bogguss - Comes Love
Muddy Waters - Got My Mojo Workin'
Jimmy Buffett - Boat Drinks
The story behind the Jim Roll song is worth looking up. A particularly sad bit of American history...

Friday, January 26, 2007

While I'm pulling a long shift... the perfect tavern you oughta click over to Blatherwatch and take in Michael Hood's series of posts on radio talk show producers. It's a good example of how provocative, entertaining and informative blogging can be at its best.

I try and try... the hope that the lovely and talented Audrey Hepcat will actually do something when I've got the camera in hand, and when she finally does, she does this.

Cats. Sheesh.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

From the "Me Too" file…

"I'd rather take advice from a cat before I would take if from Frank Luntz."

By the way, Steve has moved his site. Set your bookmarks to stun, err,

Good question.

Video and more at Think Progress.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

All y'all that are thinking...

...that Chuck Hagel's righteous indignation over Iraq makes him some kind of "good" Republican should note that when Democrats asked for a clean vote on the minimum wage, he voted to filibuster.

In fact, he's wrong on almost everything. Of course, wrong on almost every thing is about as "good" as Republicans get.

That's why...

That Kerry fella?

He's running in '08.

For his Senate seat.
"I've concluded this isn't the time for me to mount a presidential campaign," Kerry said in a speech on the Senate floor.

"It is the time to put my energy to work as part of the majority in the Senate to do all I can to end this war," he said. "What happens here in the next two years may irrevocably shape or terribly distort the administration of whichever candidate is elected president."
Speculation about the motivations for Kerry's decision can be found most anywhere, but I suspect is has as much to do with the phrase "part of the majority in the Senate" as anything. It's a fragile majority now, but one that's expected to get even stronger with the class of '08. Kerry's certainly been a more aggressive legislator since his presidential run, but much of his effort has been written off as posturing for another race.

With those considerations set aside, a meaningful committee chairmanship to work with and a record as one of the best investigators in the body, he's well positioned to assume a well-earned role as a senior statesman on the Senate floor, a role that may prove more rewarding, both personally and for the nation as a whole, than a Presidency consumed by recovering from the debacle of Iraq and the ever-expanding Bush deficits might be.

Of course, the fact that so many Democrats have chosen to become a hallelujah chorus every time Republican operatives have set out to smear him had to be a factor in Kerry's mind, and it was one of the principle reasons I haven't been leading the cheers for another run. While I still believe he's more qualified in a number of respects than any of the names currently in play, asking John Kerry to make another run for the White House is akin to asking a GI to undertake another tour of Iraq, especially since primary season promises to be as much a meat grinder as the general election campaign. For instance, the Clinton camp, deprived of Dick Morris's guidance in the realm of triangulation, seems to be taking a page from the Karl Rove's politics of attack and insinuation early on with an opening salvo from her campaign aimed at Edwards and Obama.

Although we're already getting horse race coverage, I don't really see the field as either sorted or solid at this point. We're probably six months out, at least, from a clear view of the true front-runners and also-rans. I'm intrigued by a couple folks already in, and interested in at least a couple more who aren't. And relieved, in an admittedly bittersweet way, that they won't have that Kerry fella to kick around anymore.

Down, down, down...

...and the flames got higher.

Hat tip to Mathew Gross.

Apologies to the late, great June Carter Cash.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


MSNBC's David Shuster thinks Cheney's role in the Plame case may "astound a number of people, even those who have been following this case."

I confess to be a casual consumer of Plame related reporting, but no illegal, unethical or anti-American act of Dick Cheney's could possibly astound me.

Oh, yeah. Looks like Rove might be a crook too.

Still not astounded.

This just in...

Preznit 20something%

Monday, January 22, 2007

The circular firing squad assembles.

Clinton pollster/strategist Mark Penn opines...
"The last two Democratic presidential candidates started out with high favorable ratings and ended up on Election Day - and today - far more polarizing and disliked nationally," said the pollster, who cut his teeth on President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign.
For the record, Al Gore received a majority of the popular vote, something Bill Clinton never accomplished. John Kerry received the votes of more Americans than any Democrat in history running against an incumbent in time of war.

Certainly, both candidates made a more direct challenge to Republicanism than Bill Clinton did, and Clinton's failure on that score could be included among the reasons the Democratic Party suffered so many losses during his tenure. That could easily be read as "more polarizing," but the outcomes belie the notion that they were more widely disliked than their predecessor.

Our candidates haven't been awful. Our campaigns haven't been disasters. Ground plowed by Al Gore and John Kerry, among others, produced a pretty fine harvest last fall. The work has been hard, and there's much left to do, but I fail to see any potential advantage in salting the ground behind us.

Democrats, please.

Without apology.

Good question…

…from Mathew Gross.
"Why not just burn the bullshit that so many politicians toss around when they talk about energy? We could motor happily into infinity on that abundant resource."

No, Senator, you probably can't.

Joe Biden on Cheney...
"...every single person out there that is of any consequence thinks, knows the Vice President doesn't know what he's talking about. I can't be more blunt than that."
Can't be more accurate, either.

More at Crooks & Liars.

From the "Sad But True" file…

…a SOTU preview from the DNC blog.
...For a break from the seriousness, you can start a pool with your friends -- bet on who the special guests will be. Bet on what Harry Reid will be wearing. Bet on how many standing ovations the Republicans give Bush.

But don't bother listening to the speech, because it's unlikely any of it will actually happen.
I'll peek at the transcript, no doubt, and survey the analysis, but outside of ordering men to their deaths, I don't much care what Preznit 30something% has got to say these days.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

And now...

...a passage from The Prairie Populist.
"In this country, the Democratic Party is nearer to the people than the Republican Party. Its leaders have more faith in the people and are more anxious to keep the goverment under the control of the people...Young man, will you stand with the people or against them?"

William Jennings Bryan,

From the "what he said…" file.


Or, as he said…

"Keep Clam."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Data points...

"The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."

Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree
"...I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism."

Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, War Is A Racket
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex."

President Dwight David Eisenhower, Farewell Address

21… a day.

46 this month month.



The virtual jukebox is on.

Random ten time.
Nanci Griffith - Boots Of Spanish Leather
Oasis - Be Here Now
David Bowie - John, I'm Only Dancing
Brigitte DeMeyer - Big Boss Man
Donovan - Colours
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
Willie Nelson - Hello Walls
Rod Stewart & Jeff Beck - People Get Ready
Greg Trooper - This I'd Do
Randy Newman - Rednecks

Aw, c'mon, Senator…

…just say it.
“I don’t think he understands the world. I don’t think he’s particularly curious about the world. I don’t think he reads like he says he does.”

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

I think you're right, of course, as far as you go, but if he doesn't read "like he says he does," well, there's a word for that.

Just say it.

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The lovely and talented...

...Miss Audrey Hepcat sez:

"Put that goddamn camera away!"


“There is no way to win a war that is not in your interests.”

Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Hat tip to Ron Chusid at Liberal Values.


The 100 hour agenda, done with time to spare.
· Ethics reform,

· An increase in the federal minimum wage for the first time in 10 years,

· Enactment of the 9-11 commission's recommendations,

· Expanded stem-cell research,

· Government negotiation of prices with prescription drug companies,

· Student loan interest rates cut in half,

· The elimination of billions in subsidies for big oil companies.
That's not just more than any Republican House accomplished, it's more than every Republican House accomplished.

"Democratic mastery."

Has a nice ring to it, huh? The NYT writes about "the new bipartisanship."
"...the ability of the Democrats to win over significant numbers of Republicans on most votes signals the slim but enticing possibility of Democratic mastery over a demoralized Republican Party…"
Democrats setting the agenda.

Republicans getting in line.

That's a bipartisanship I can get behind.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Via Political Wire...
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), "who is up for re-election this cycle, has formed a special fundraising account to help" Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) "raise money for a prospective 2008 bid while recovering from emergency brain surgery," reports Roll Call.

Baucus "finalized the creation of the Baucus-Johnson Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that allows Baucus to simultaneously raise money for his re-election as well as Johnson's."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What's a majority good for?

Well, this, among other things.
Today, Senator Carl Levin and Senator Arlen Specter received a letter that says the Justice Department would be using the FISA court to get approval for any domestic surveillance and that President Bush would not seek to extend the Terrorist Surveillance Program which had been passed by the Rubber-stamp Congress to allow him a fig leaf that he was spying on Americans legally.
Elections do have consequences. Sometimes good ones.

Sorry, Senator…

…but this isn't gonna get it.
Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions.
If there's a partisanship problem in American politics, it's that their partisans have been riding roughshod over our partisans, and Senator Obama seems to be adjusting to the saddle already.

Want to be my Party's nominee? First, be a Democrat. A proudly partisan Democrat.

Without apology.

One of the things I hate…

…about what they're doing to my Army was brought to the front of my mind by this from Glenn Greenwald...
...the most consequential force pushing Americans to lose their instinctive resistance to war was probably the First Persian Gulf War -- everyone's favorite. It was the first fully televised war, and it made war seem like nothing more significant than killing bad people by zapping them from the sky with super high-tech, precision weaponry that risked nothing -- war as video game, cheered on safely and clinically from a distance.
To no small degree, public acceptance of the notion of video game warfare was essential to the Bush/Rumsfeld vision of a reformed military. Before the current carnage in Iraq, people had started to accept the idea that other people, the "boots on the ground" people, were largely irrelevant to modern warfare. Mundane tasks could be contracted out - the developing world seems to be chock full of people who want to cook and clean for American G.I.s, after all - and other than the guys who would guide the radio controlled drones and smart weapons all we would need would be a couple brigades of Green Berets to handle special, generally covert, missions, whether raids or rescues.

We're far more aware today, sadly, that there are still wars that require thousands of our fellow citizens to be maimed and killed. We seem less aware, or less concerned at any rate, about how small the distribution of that risk has become. A in response to my post about the extension of a Minnesota National Guard unit's tour of Iraq as an element of the Bush escalation brought that to mind. If, the commenter opined, they didn't like it, "They shouldn't have joined the National Guard."

Why? Because they should have known that the commitments in force at the time of their enlistment, commitments about the conditions required for, and the duration and frequency, of a call-up to an overseas combat deployment were just silly putty to the government they serve? Because they understood that a radical restructuring of our force structure was being undertaken that would require extraordinary sacrifice by the remaining troops to maintain a deployment that is, at best, modest to the point of inadequacy?

Of course they should have joined the National Guard. Or the Army Reserves. Or the active duty military. Lots of people should, many more, in fact, than do. That, of course, is a general proposition. I wouldn't counsel anyone to join this Army, at this time. It's not just the insanity of the current conflict. Deployment to combat is an undeniable risk of military service. It's the responsibility of leadership, military and civilian, to insure that such a deployment, however, is vial to the interests of the American people, lawful in the world community and that it is the only means by which America's vital interests can be served. The present circumstances are clear evidence of leadership failure, both civilian and military.

To sweep the sacrifices of our ground troops, from any force component, away with "They shouldn't have joined…," though, is nonsensical. We need a National Guard, and an Army Reserve, and an Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. Some Americans will always have to wear the uniform in service to the rest of America. More, in principle, should. Of course, principles have a way of running up against hard facts, and the hard fact is when the Commander in Chief is contemptuous of the sacrifices he demands, the recruiter's office should become a lonely place. Contemptuous? Well, there's this, from Bush's 60 Minutes appearance (via mcjoan)...
Pelley: In Vietnam as you know, you served 365 and you were done.

Bush: This is a different situation. This is a volunteer army. In Vietnam, it was, ‘We’re going to draft you and you’re going to go for a year.'
Only a man who never kept a short-timer's calendar could say that. Of course, it's not true. My entire basic training platoon was made up of Regular Army (enlisted) troop. Most of my unit in Vietnam was made up of R.A.s. Our tours were identical to our conscripted comrade's tours. It had nothing to do with being drafted or not. In Vietnam it was "If you get sent, it's for a year. You might be asked to extend, and if you re-up you might get sent again. But you're being sent for a year." Bush is making the same comment as my dismissive commenter - if they didn't want successive extended tours of a war that a majority of their countrymen don't want them sent to at all, let alone again, they shouldn't have enlisted.

Of course, no one enlists in the National Guard with that kind of expectation. Their recruiter doubtless spun tales of crowd control and emergency response, but the sandbags they expected to fill were to hold back floods, not bullets. Even active Reservists have traditionally expected their first call-up to consist of picking up some home front slack when the 'big' Army gets sent away.

There's no big Army left, alas. The Army today is a third smaller than the one we had for the video game war. Recruiting claims turned out to be, well, what recruiting claims have too often been.

But we can't blame that on the recruits. Some degree of blame rests on anyone who imagined that war would no longer require thousands of other Americans to be maimed and killed, that war could somehow be clean, or cheap. It's not a matter of whether people should join the military, but whether we'll create a military they should join. We need them. We need a lot more of them, actually...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tuesday comet blogging.`

Since this reportedly the brightest comet to pass through local skies for the next thirty years or so, and it really wasn't all that bright, comet blogging probably won't become a regular feature around here, but I did get a shot of the McNaught comet's passage through a beautiful northwest sunset that I think is worth sharing...

Pretty cool, huh?

Monday, January 15, 2007

What they're doing to my Army…

…is so wrong that even a Republican can see it. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) to SecDef Gates, via Bob Geiger.
"I am extremely disappointed to hear that the President's decision to implement a troop surge in Baghdad will have a major, negative impact on the Minnesota National Guard. These soldiers have made the ultimate commitment to serve our country and defend our freedom. They deserve better than to find out just two short months before their planned return that their tours will be extended for at least another 125 days. Most don't know when they'll be coming home at all, and none know what their extended mission will entail.

"Their families also deserve better than the insensitive manner in which this announcement was handled. These families have been eagerly counting the days until they could welcome our veteran heroes back to the United States. To find out that their soldier's stay has been extended is heartbreaking. To find out by watching the news on TV is completely unacceptable."

I hate what they're doing to my Army.

He taught us so much.

We still have much to learn.

Dr. King:
"At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called "enemy," I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now..."
Have a thoughtful MLK Day.

Hat tip to Joe in DC.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

How do you spell FUBAR?

Via Terry Turner...
Oxfam tells The Independent that they've confirmed 70 deaths of herdsmen in Somalia during last week's US air raid .

The raid targeted three senior al Qaeda members suspected in the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa. State Department spokesmen announced this week none of the suspects were killed in the raid.
Enough with the "oops" already.

And now...

...a passage from the Prairie Populist.
"All history sustains the self-evident truths which form the foundation of a government deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed. All history condemns a political structure which appeals only to fear and relies upon bayonets for its support."

William Jennings Bryan,

Saturday, January 13, 2007


John in DC…
I was watching "The Mummy 2" on the plane back from France, and I now have a plan for bringing Terri Schiavo back from the dead. I recognize that many are skeptical…
Punch line here.

It's not so much more troops…

…as troops again, or troops from another front, or, now, troops under-trained.
The 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division will skip a previously scheduled trip to the Army’s National Training Center in Southern California and instead conduct its last pre-deployment rehearsals at Fort Lewis, a brigade official said Thursday.

The unit of some 4,000 soldiers will be the fifth Stryker brigade to go to Iraq, but the first without the benefit of a test run “in the box” at either Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert or the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.
Bush did't tell the truth about his war. He didn't build an Army for his war. He won't pay the bills for his war.

Time to take it away from him and put an end to it.

And have I mentioned that I hate what they're doing to my Army?

Hat tip to Peter McGowan at CoolAqua.

Tune time...

Marvin Gaye - Can I Get A Witness
Bruce Springsteen - Shenandoah
Gina Scipione - Independence Day
Grandpa Jones - Are You From Dixie?
Kathleen Edwards - 6 O'Clock News
Jimmy Buffett - Last Mango In Paris
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)
Lisa Fraser - Such A Day
John Prine - Sam Stone
Dr. John - Iko, Iko
Nice list, I think. Touches a lot of favorite bases for me.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Oh, yeah, it's friday...

Some folks have wondered what the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat's eyes actually look like without a flash bouncing off them. This shot comes as close as I ever have...

Made possible, of course, by her disdain for the camera.

My own personal Congressman…

…is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support of the House Ways and Means Committee.

What's that mean? Via Slog, Rep. McDermott's office tell us that…
The subcommittee has jurisdiction over many vital social and economic programs that support the American people, including Unemployment Insurance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, some portions of the Social Security Act, and programs to protect and care for vulnerable children and disadvantaged families.
Jim McDermott was the budget king of Olympia in his State Senate days. Stuck in the minority for most of his Congressional tenure, his real capacities as a legislator have never been on display. He's at his best with a gavel in hand, and he'll be an excellent advocate for these essential strands of America's social safety net.

It's getting better all the time.

From the "Me too" file.

paradox at The Left Coaster:
There are many things that disturb me about American life but one of the most galling surely has to be losing the 4th amendment to fly...

...No, it is not that big of a deal to take off my shoes like some child while I’m searched. It is a very, very big deal to live in a land full of such scared pipsqueeks who take away our rights without thinking for no good reason.
Actually, I haven't been on a plane since this nonsense started. Our travel has been by car and ship. But it's the very idea, not the experience, that gets to me.

There's more, and it's good. Read the whole thing.

The Upper Left Eight.

WASHINGTON -- All eight Democrats from Washington's congressional delegation said they oppose the increase of U.S. troops in Iraq outlined by President Bush Wednesday night and said they'll likely support a nonbinding resolution against the plan.
A sampling...
Rep. Norm Dicks: "This escalation is absolutely the wrong way to go. I have this gut instinct that this is the start of the end."

Rep. Jay Inslee: "We have to take every step we can, including using the constitutional power of the purse, to deny the president the power to go off on this half-cocked escalation.

Rep. Rick Larsen: "The president ought to be telling the American people that we reached a plateau and are going to work our way down."

Senator Patty Murray: "Despite the warnings of his top generals, and the message sent by the American people, the president has again decided to go it alone."
And the other three?
Rep. Cathy McMorris, R-Spokane, said Bush's proposal "is worth our consideration," and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, said he was encouraged by the new plan.

Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, said through a spokeswoman that he wasn't available to comment Wednesday.
No doubt about it...

When I'm not toiling away...

...around Upper Left World Headquarters, I'm usually working at the perfect tavern.

"Perfect?" you say. Don't take my word for it. It's in The Weekly.

And that tartar sauce? I make it, and if you mention the blog I'll slip you a little extra...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Harry sez: No Escalation. No Way.

Email from the Majority Leader...
...Congress will vote in the next few weeks on the President's plan, but my position is clear: No Escalation -- No Way.

Click here to join me in sending President Bush that message.

From his bedside… his fnord by the sea.
Robert Anton Wilson Defies Medical Experts and leaves his body @4:50 AM on binary date 01/11.

All Hail Eris!
R.I.P. Bon voyage.

"A rogue President…"

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Upper Left), just now on KOMO radio.

Damn, we've sent a helluva team to the other Washington.

You're welcome, America.

C'mon, Bobo…

…say the word. Brooks, via the Firewall Fairy (my emphasis):
All of this is designed to soothe the wounded pride of the Maliki government, and to make the U.S. offensive seem less arduous at home. It’s the opposite of the truth.
And that would be?

A hint…

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Nancy nailed it…


I didn't watch or listen to Bush's speech. I did read the transcript, but I just can't bear the smirks, sneers and smug self-satisfaction that invariably define his delivery. Instead, I listened to a recording of Speaker Pelosi's comments from the conference call I listened in on yesterday, and she really said all that needs to be understood about the "new" scheme (nothing about it rises to the level of an actual strategy).
"The same poor judgment that got us to where we are now is what he wants us to respect as he goes forward."
A couple more notes from the call. The Speaker noted that with as many as 100 thousand civilian contractors representing American corporations in Iraq and a new law allowing western companies to suck up 75% of Iraq's oil economy, which is about 95% of Iraq's total economy, "We have an opportunity now…to show the American people what it is that they're asking our kids to sacrifice their lives for."

Those are some hearings I want to hear.

She sees beyond the opportunities of the majority, though, and described the responsibilities as well, saying "We have to be clear to the American people that we heard them in the election and have to be clear to the President that he must hear us, as voices of the people."

Sic 'em, Madam Speaker.

Same song...

...different war.

So the Preznit's going to reveal his new plan for population reduction in a while. I think I have to wash my hair or something, but that's OK. Pete Seeger had it figured out a few decades back...

It was back in nineteen forty-two,
I was a member of a good platoon.
We were on maneuvers in-a Loozianna,
One night by the light of the moon.
The captain told us to ford a river,
That's how it all begun.
We were -- knee deep in the Big Muddy,
But the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, are you sure,
This is the best way back to the base?"
"Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
'Bout a mile above this place.
It'll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
We'll soon be on dry ground."
We were -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, with all this equipment
No man will be able to swim."
"Sergeant, don't be a Nervous Nellie,"
The Captain said to him.
"All we need is a little determination;
Men, follow me, I'll lead on."
We were -- neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

All at once, the moon clouded over,
We heard a gurgling cry.
A few seconds later, the captain's helmet
Was all that floated by.
The Sergeant said, "Turn around men!
I'm in charge from now on."
And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
With the captain dead and gone.

We stripped and dived and found his body
Stuck in the old quicksand.
I guess he didn't know that the water was deeper
Than the place he'd once before been.
Another stream had joined the Big Muddy
'Bout a half mile from where we'd gone.
We were lucky to escape from the Big Muddy
When the big fool said to push on.

Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.

Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man'll be over his head, we're
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!

Where will we find our wise and brave Sergeant this time?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Quote of the Day.

Marty Kaplan, on the lack of a "there" there...
"It is as likely that this escalation will lead to an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself as it is that it will lead to an Iraq that can levitate itself, fellate itself and book itself on a cruise to Bermuda."

He said what?!?

"The President has the ability to exercise his own authority if he thinks Congress has voted the wrong way."

Tony Snow -- January 8, 2007
They're not even trying anymore. They've given up any pretense of respect for Constitutional government.

They're totally shameless. Franklin's challenge ("A republic, if you can keep it.") is before the present generation. I pray we're equal to it.

From the shameless fan boy file.

While I was waiting for Blogger to come back up from scheduled maintenance, I was on the phone with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

Is that cool or what?

Ok, then, a little substance from the call. Speaker Pelosi had some sage counsel for the nervous Nellies in Democratic ranks (she called out Senator Biden in particular)...
"Don't think in the minority, think in the majority."
Words to live by.

Against the war…

…before he was for it?

Atrios investigates.

From the "Good Points by Good Democrats" file...

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Upper Left), as told by David Postman
He said that while he hates historic military metaphors, he had one himself for Iraq and what he says is a global war on terror: The U.S. left Vietnam, lost Vietnam to the Communists, but eventually won the Cold War.
I'd argue further that war with Vietnam was, in fact, a detriment to victory in the Cold War, and that Iraq is similarly detrimental to meaningful pursuit of, let alone victory in, the Global War on Terror. I think Smith's formulation, though, can be a valuable way for Democrats to project strength against the threats faced by our nation and other pluralistic democracies while opposing escalation and demanding a conclusion to Bush's war.

Of course, it's important to remember that the victory in the Cold War had more to do with the strength of ideas like market economies, representative government and individual liberty - liberal ideas all - than with Ronald Reagan's defense deficits. We won because we inspired the people, not because we frightened their government.

We can only defeat the enemy by being better than the enemy.

Just another free lunch Republican.

Via Think Progress.
HUNT: So you would resist asking more affluent Americans to pay more taxes to help support this war?

MCCAIN: Yeah, because then… I’m not sure what the point would be. I would certainly ask Americans to serve. I would ask them to make other sacrifices, but I’m not sure I would want to raise their taxes just because we’re in a war.
Remember shared sacrifice during war? Probably not, but it's in all the history books. It's something that happened during the wars we won.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Iraq has become a quagmire of the vanities — a place where America is spending blood and treasure to protect the egos of men who won’t admit that they were wrong.
The Firewall Fairy has it all.

Shell game.

Already, a U.S. Army infantry battalion fighting in a critical area of eastern Afghanistan is due to be withdrawn within weeks in order to deploy to Iraq.
What happens to morale when you're pulled off a difficult but arguably justifiable mission for one that's futile and based on a long exposed lie?

I hate what they're doing to my Army.

Hat tip to scout_prime.

Good question…

…from Rep. Brian Baird (D-Upper Left), after Sherrif Dave's vote against PayGo.
“Does Dave Reichert really want to sit down with my 22-month-old boys or his grandkids and tell them they owe $8.6 billion?”
Dave Reichert supports the birth tax.

Hat tip to Goldy.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

And now...

...a passage from the Prairie Populist, ca. 1898.
"While the American people are endeavoring to extend an unsolicited sovereignty over remote peoples, foreign financiers will be able to complete the conquest of our own country."

William Jennings Bryan,
We can't say we weren't warned...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

It's playoff time!

Your reigning National Football Conference Champion Seattle Seahawks are scheduled to defeat the Dallas Cowboys this afternoon. No prediction beyond the win, but...

Random ten time...

Bill Morrissey - Pay Day
The Byrds - You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
Flying Burritto Brothers - Dark End Of The Street
Elvis Costello - Pump It Up
Billy Bragg - Price Of Oil
Gram Parsons & The Fallen Angels - Love Hurts
Neil Young - Rockin' In The Free World
Linda Ronstadt - Love Is A Rose
Cristina Williams Band - Summer Moon
Bottoms Up Blues Gang - Ain't Nobody's Business
An honorary entry, given recent events...
Happy Days Are Here Again - Barbra Streisand

The best picture I've seen…

…of the best scene on Thursday.

Any pointers to a more panoramic shot? There was a bunch a' group o' kids there.

Update: Carl found one.

Larger version here.
Hat tip to Rob at AmericaBlog for the first shot.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Like the proverbial stopped clock…

…once in a while even a Republican gets something right.
"...there is a difference between what we would wish for the Iraqi people and what we need for American security.”

Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.)

It would seem...

...that the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat is a bit skeptical about the my new enthusiasm for cat blogging...

Speaking of sweet...

Listening to the House debate on the the new rules package I noticed that while the Republicans were whining and lying and smearing as usual, their nonsense is suddenly somewhat more tolerable knowing that none of it matters because they just don't have the votes.

Pretty sweet, too, hearing all those Blue Dogs line up to support the Speaker and their Party.

What a difference a day makes.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


What he said.

Soto on Sheehan.

John Boehner is an ass.

"Democrat Party."

In the Speaker's introduction.

Kiss mine, Boner.

The roll call is complete.

The escort is appointed.

Speaker Pelosi.

Let the games work begin.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

So long…

…and thanks for all the links.

I don't know how many times I've touted The Stakeholder as the best of the Democratic institutional blogs. It's been the first place to turn for solid news from the DCCC, but it's always been more than a collection of committee press releases. It's been an institutional blog with a distinctive voice, and that voice has been Jesse Lee's.

Jesse's also been a great supporter of Upper Left, and I appreciate that, but that's something that a great many of us out here in the hinterlands can say. The Stakeholder has been more than a member of the Democratic blogging community, it's been a leader of that community, exercising that leadership by example rather than direction. Now, though, it's time for a new direction for Jesse...
It's been 3 years, 5645 posts, and 30 Republican seats, and now I have to take my leave. I'll be starting in the Speaker's office tomorrow, working on these self-same internets.
The Speaker's gain is, well, our gain. I'm looking forward to seeing the continued evolution of The Stakeholder as it finds it's new voice, and I have a feeling that this is the right move at the right time for all the right reasons.

Thanks, Jesse. And congrats on your new digs. I know I'm not alone in counting on hearing from you soon.

Things that make me go...

Without mentioning Mr. Obama by name, Mrs. Clinton and her camp are already asserting that experience will be a key attribute for any successful candidate during difficult times — an argument that her team will no doubt make in a more aggressive way against Mr. Obama if they both jump into the race.
A couple things, actually. First, what's up with these folks who are presumably close enough to and supportive enough of Hillary Clinton to get invites to her supposedly off-the-record strategy dinners. Either the campaign is being disingenuous about the privacy of these events or the people closest to Hillary can't be trusted with a secret. I think most people would look to the Clinton campaign as likely to be the tightest, most polished and professional operation. Looked at through the lens of this story, that seems to be less true than I, at any rate, might have thought.

I wonder, too, how hard Hillary really wants to play the experience card. She was, by all reports, a better than competent corporate attorney before becoming First Lady, but she's served one term in the US Senate in her own right. The notion of the Clinton co-Presidency was pretty much set aside after she set the cause of universal health care back a generation or so by pandering to the private insureance industry. It puts her on par, perhaps, with Obama, who has time in the Illinois legislature to round out his admittedly limited federal experience, and Edwards, whose own legal career carries more populist appeal and whose time in the Senate was truncated by his elevation to a national Presidential ticket. If experience becomes a primary criterion, though, it would seem to benefit candidates like Biden and Dodd and, yes, that Kerry fella, far more than Clinton, in terms of their relative length of service and their focus on the kinds of military, security and diplomatic issues that are generally considered the peculiar province of the Presidency.

Of course, the leaky friends could be agents of a sophisticated disinformation campaign. Hmmm…

Hat tip to Jeralyn at Talk Left.

How's that go?

The problem isn't what folks don't know, but what they do know that isn't so?

Chris Grygiel, at the PI blog Strange Bedfellows
We know you can't get enough of polls.
But Chris, we can, indeed. '08 polls are almost as widely distributed as they are completely meaningless.

Easier to reprint them, though, than actually do that reporting stuff.

Good question…

…from Joe in DC.
How the hell did George Bush let Saddam Hussein become a martyr?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pay your respects.

Diane, in comments. - virtual James Brown shrine and wake - leaving it up as long as Ford lies in state.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New year.

New Congress. New hope.

Lots of work left to do.

I'm not big on the usual year end lists or predictions. Obviously, the big story for me was the election, the results were encouraging and my hopes are high.

George Bush is still the worst Preznit ever, though, and the Congressional Republicans have left an awful mess for Speaker Pelosi and her team. They'll continue to lie, because it's all they've got, and some of their lies will continue to kill people. Other lies will just rob people. All of their lies demand our diligence, because we all have a personal stake in restoring Constitutional government to our country.

And yet I'm optimistic.

We're on a roll.

It's a start.

A good one.

Happy New Year!