Monday, April 30, 2007


“We live in a difficult period for the Army because the demand for our forces exceeds the supply.”

Gen. George Casey, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army
I'm a proponent of a larger military myself, for mostly related the health and readiness of the force and to reversing the trend toward privatizing the military. The current "demand," though, is largely artificial, the product of a failed foreign policy leading to a devastating misuse of our armed forces.

How devastating? The Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army just admitted they don't have the troops to do their job.

That devastating.

I hate what they're doing to my Army.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

And now...

Good answer.

Matt Yglesias:

Why Don't You Guys Ever Report the Good News?
Possibly because the "good things" happening in Iraq turn out to be sandcastles...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Good question.

Ron Chusid at Liberal Values:
Anyone really think that it is a coincidence that a map of the red states is virtually identical to a map of the former slave-owning states?

Quote of the day.

Via Attaturk:
"There are no happy endings in the Bush Administration".

Randall L. Tobias
Not for any of us, I'm afraid. Even the end itself will be bittersweet given the mess he's making.

Randomly selected…

...from files added to the collection over the last six months or so…
Big Bill Broonzy - All I Got Belongs To You
Beth Orton - Shopping Trolley
Gerry & The Pacemakers - Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying
Dizzy Gillespie with Joe Carroll - Ooh-Shoo-Be-Doo-Bee
The Band - The Weight
Tom Paxton - Who Will Feed The People
Emily Lord - One Day At A Time
Larry Groce - Junk Food Junkie
Crosby, Stills & Nash - See The Changes
Big Joe Williams - Blues For Gamblers

Friday, April 27, 2007

This was gonna be a great shot…

…till the beautiful and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat saw the camera and ducked.

They're ALL wild about Harry.

The Senate Democratic Caucus - all of 'em - sounds off…
"In the first 100 days alone, we made great strides under his leadership on long-neglected legislation concerning stem cell research, the Sept. 11 commission's recommendations and the minimum wage, to name three. In addition, under Mr. Reid's leadership, we have fulfilled our obligation, left uncompleted by last year's Republican-led Senate, to fund the federal government. He has accomplished all of this in the face of stiff opposition and with a commitment to giving ideas full opportunity for debate."
Add a big "Me too!"

Preznit 20something%.

Bush's approval has sunk to 28% in the new Harris poll, but if you're thinking that Congressional Republicans will start to abandon ship, well, maybe not. They're sitting at a 22% approval themselves.

Thinking about the corruption caucus needing a popularity transplant from a historically unpopular President almost provokes a little sympathy from my bleeding liberal heart.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fill me in.

I'll be heading off to a shift at the perfect tavern shortly after the Democratic joint appearance starts. With 8 candidates and a panel sharing 90 mere minutes, there won't be much that could really count as 'debate,' I suppose, but the attraction of these things is you just never know who's going to say what that might stand out.

I'll be back later tonight. So fill me in. Who said what? What stood out?

Good question.

Paul Begala investigates the wonderful world of wankerism and wonders…
"...what has put the Benzedrine in Mr. Broder's Ovaltine?"

You don't have to support John Edwards…

…to agree with David Bonior.
" branch of our government is safe as long as Karl Rove is in it."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Michael Brown. Scooter Libby. Bernard Kerik. Halliburton. Philip Cooney. David Safavian. Lurita Doan. Matteo Fontana. Sue Ellen Wooldridge. Steven Griles. Alberto Gonzales. FEMA. Iraq intelligence. Iraq reconstruction.

This Hall of Shame is no accident and these are not isolated incidences. It’s a pattern of political appointees who put partisan interests ahead of country – and were told to do so.
Read it all.

Last day.

Vote for Darcy.

Laura Antionette.

On the hardship of war.

"And believe me, no one sufferers more than their president and I do when we watch this."
Nope. Not the troops in the field. Not the vets in the hospitals. Not the families at the gravesites.

No one suffers more than the Preznit and his missus.


Of course, she learned from the best. Remember Babs on the NOLA evacuees?

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this is working very well for them."
These people are not like you.

These people don't care about you.

George Bush is, of course, one of these people.


From Chris Bowers.
The country doesn't want compromise, or bipartisanship, or someone who straddles both parties. Right now, the country wants Democrats. All of our candidates running for higher office need to remember that, and we need to keep reminding them.
Democrats. Without apology.


On solid ground.

Pasted whole from The Gavel, because everyone should see this...

“This important legislation sets a new direction for Iraq. It acknowledges that America went to war without mobilizing the nation, that our strategy in Iraq has been tragically flawed since the invasion in March 2003, that our Army and Marine Corps are at the breaking point with little to show for it, and that our military alone will never establish representative government in Iraq. The administration got it terribly wrong and I applaud our Congress for stepping up to their constitutional responsibilities.”
-Maj. Gen. John Batiste, USA, Ret.

“This bill gives General Petraeus great leverage for moving the Iraqi government down the more disciplined path laid out by the Iraq Study Group. The real audience for the timeline language is Prime Minister al-Maliki and the elected government of Iraq. The argument that this bill aides the enemy is simply not mature - nobody on the earth underestimates the United States’ capacity for unpredictability. It may further create some sense of urgency in the rest of our government, beginning with the State Department.”
-Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, USA, Ret.

“The bill gives the president a chance to pull back from a disastrous course, re-orient US strategy to achieve regional stability, and win help from many other countries - the only way peace will eventually be achieved.”
-Lt. Gen. Wm. E. Odom, USA, Ret.

”Supporting the Iraq Supplemental Bill not only reflects the thinking of the Iraq Study Group but puts teeth to the phrase “Supporting the Troops”. By establishing timelines it returns the responsibility of self preservation and regional sovereignty to the people of Iraq and their government.”
-Maj. Gen. Mel Montano, USANG, Ret.

“We must commence a coordinated phased withdrawal of U.S. combat troops and condition our continuing support of the Iraqi government on its fulfilling the political commitments it has made to facilitate reconciliation of the contending secular factions. Otherwise, we will continue to be entwined in a hopeless quagmire, with continuing American casualties, which will render our ground forces ineffective.”
- Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, USA Ret.

Good question…

…and a good answer, too, from George McGovern.
Who was the real loser of '72?
Senator McGovern sets the record straight about the '72 platform, which called for a return to the progressive domestic course, extending LBJ's Great Society programs and reforms, and an end to the disastrous war that Nixon extended largely due to political considerations at a great cost in blood and treasure. All that wrapped up neatly in a balanced budget.

Hardly the hard left turn you'd believe according to the popular legend, a legend which, sadly, is too often disseminated even by contemporary progressives. It's time to reclaim our progressive champions who, if not always victorious, have always been right.



Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Steve Benen
Dick Cheney lashed out at Harry Reid and other Senate Dems today, with a series of misleading and baseless attacks. In other words, it’s Tuesday.
And that Kerry fella chimes in...
Dick Cheney’s attacks on Harry Reid are as disturbing as they are disingenuous. He is the American Idol of outlandish claims.
In other news, the emporer is bare naked.

Free at last, free at last…

…thank modern science they're free at last.

200 wrongful convictions have been overturned on DNA evidence. According to The Innocence Project...
The 100th exoneration occurred in January 2002, 13 years after the first exoneration. It took just more than five years for the number to double.
Is there any candidate for anything anywhere talking seriously about the crisis in the American justice system? That's not a rhetorical question. Where are the good guys, and what are they up to?

Hat tip to Jeralyn at Talk Left.

All Night Long Line?

If the producers of Nightline decided to dedicate another show to honoring America's Iraq war dead, the show would run for 2 hours and 41 minutes.


Hat tip to greg at The Talent Show.


WSJ style.
"While Mr. Obama's economic platform is still in its formative stages, interviews with his aides and a review of his congressional record and speeches suggest that Obamanomics may place him somewhat to the left of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, but to the right of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, another rival for the 2008 nomination."

She's always been an Upper Left All Star…

…and now Darcy Burner's made the second round of balloting DFA All Star honors. You can help Darcy come out on top of the DFA list right here.

Hat tip to Stillwell at NPI.

Unsettled state.

Taegan Goddard has a "key finding" from a Gallup state of the election report…
"In March, three-quarters of voters indicated that they did not yet have a good idea for whom they will vote next year. Only 14% said they had made up their minds about whom they will support."
…which pretty much sums up why I haven't paid much attention most polls. Yes, people seem to be paying more early attention than usual. No, they really don't know enough to decide just yet. Count me in the 86%.

The Gallup report is a good summary, though, of what we know, and don't, about the current standings and situation, according to their research.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bizarro Preznit.

"The Attorney General went up and gave a very candid assessment and answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer, in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job."

As one of the referenced "us"…

…qualifying fully on both counts, I think pal o' Upper Left Ron Chusid is a bit too broad in his proclamation on our behalf.
Those of us who respected both Kerry’s intellect and experience have a very difficult time taking John Edwards seriously as a candidate.
Sorry Ron. I get that physicians aren't big fans of trial lawyers and all, but some of "us" take John Edwards quite seriously as a candidate. Some of "us" probably even support him. More of "us" may yet.

Where are the Kerry people? All over the map, including a substantial component finding interests beyond campaign gossip and essentially meaningless polls more compelling for the time being. Some of 'em are even holding out for a hero.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

My emphasis.


In Turnabout, Infant Deaths Climb in South
...The setbacks have raised questions about the impact of cuts in welfare and Medicaid and of poor access to doctors.
It's worth bearing in mind that the Clintons consider that an achievement.

Half a loaf?

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law Saturday a measure to create domestic partnerships, giving gay and lesbian couples some of the same rights that come with marriage.

But, hey, if it pisses off the (far) right Rev. Fuiten, I'll take it.

For now.

And now...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

He's not wrong, exactly.

A glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel?
This is how winning feels, in the early stages. It feels like scorching heat, freezing cold, sweat, pain, agony, injury, and loss of life. That is always how it feels in wartime before victory comes.
That's the view of some wingnut blogger quoted by Steve Benen. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But it's not wrong, exactly.

Winning a war can indeed feel like "scorching heat, freezing cold, sweat, pain, agony, injury, and loss of life." That is, indeed, how it feels before victory comes. It's also exactly how it feels before defeat comes.

It's war itself, not winning or losing, that feels like "scorching heat, freezing cold, sweat, pain, agony, injury, and loss of life." There's really not a lot more to it, win or lose.

Which is why, of course, a sane government never starts an unnecessary war or pursues a futile one.

A couple data points…

…from Todd at The Blue State.
Brand new Rasmussen poll on gun control. 45% think the country needs stricter gun laws, and 37% disagree. The poll was taken after the Virginia shooting. After Dick Cheney shot his friend in the face, the same poll was taken. In that poll, it was 39% were for more gun safety laws, and were 52% opposed.
About as good a case for the cumbersome machinery of representative democracy as I've seen lately.

Some of that jazz…

...On my hard drive.

Ten tunes.

Oscar Peterson - The Way You Look Tonight
Donald Byrd - Star Eyes
Leny Andrade - The Man I Love
Chet Baker - E.S.P.
Lee Morgan - P.S. I Love You
Bud Powell - Embraceable You
Art Pepper - Winter Moon
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - Flirtibird
Stan Getz & J.J. Johnson - Billie's Bounce
Archie Shepp with Annette Lowman - Lover Man

Friday, April 20, 2007

What Time Is It?!

Well, to put it politely for the A.G., it's getting late. After Alberto Gonzales' first day of testimony on the hill, he wasn't even getting any love from the members of his own party. And the papers certainly weren't rushing to his defense. The most entertaining headline was seen in The New York Daily News, which featured three simple words: "Bedtime For Gonzo."

Indeed it is. One more Bush crony who will leave scars rather than marks. And as Big Al goes down in flames, more cards in the Republican's house are toppling. Rep. John Doolittle (R-California) has stepped down "temporarily" from his spot on the House Appropriations Committee in the wake of an FBI raid on his home and continued scrutiny for his involvement with Jack Abramoff. At this time, Mr. Doolittle's name has become ironic, as he's no longer on any committees at all.

Meanwhile, Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Arizona) has stepped down from the House Intelligence Committee while the FBI investigates one of his land deals and some alleged hanky panky involving legislative favors for campaign contributors. You know, I'm sure there'll be a Dem or two on the scandal sheets here and there, but these elephant types just can't seem to bring themselves to lay low.

And he doesn't care about you, either.

While we're waiting for Gonzales to go, Steve Benen reminds us that patience is a virtue...
Bush doesn’t concern himself with these “rules.” Donald Rumsfeld, Alphonso Jackson, and Rod Paige proved that the president is more than willing to tolerate cabinet secretaries who have no business keep their job staying on.

Gonzales has become the most reviled man in the administration, after having been caught lying and losing control of the Justice Department. The rules say Gonzales has to go. Bush, meanwhile, is The Decider — and The Decider doesn’t much care about the rules.

Good question.

Why hasn't Sen. Barack Obama accepted the invitation from the Service Employees International Union to spend a day working in the shoes of one of its members?

Clever, but not quite.

The lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat tries to avoid the paparazzi by disguising herself as a piece of office equipment...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Duh quote of the day.

The Preznit:
"Death is terrible."


…err…Trippi. Joe takes the plunge.
"I really thought that the 2004 presidential campaign would be the last I would be involved in. I have always wanted to make a difference, but for me I thought those days were over. A few weeks ago, John and Elizabeth Edwards made their decision to continue, not just John Edwards' campaign for President, but their work together to make a difference for their country. And that made me realize that I wasn't done trying to make a difference either. Not by a long shot. So today I am joining the John Edwards campaign."
Yep. Trippy.

Stoller's right.

"It's hard not to like Chris Dodd, especially when he keeps making so much sense."
And carbon taxes are just the tip of the iceberg.

But can he build a campaign with seven million bucks? I'm standing by...

He's nuts…

…and it's made it to YouTube. He's toast. Via the DNC blog...
John McCain, at a town hall meeting in Murrell's Inlet, responding to a question about whether or not there are plans to attack Iran:
“McCain began his answer by changing the words to a popular Beach Boys song. “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran,” he sang to the tune of Barbara Ann…"
I see a future with the Capitol Steps.

Darcy for America.

Democracy for America is conducting an online primary of sorts to choose their first Congressional endorsement for the '08 cycle. Darcy's on the short list. Help put her on top of it here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A simple "I resign" will suffice.

From Attorney General Alberto Gonzales prepared remarks for the Senate Judiciary Committee:
“I apologize”
“I am sorry”
“could have — and should have — been handled differently”
“I made mistakes”
“I would have handled this differently”
“I should have done more”
“at times I have been less than precise”
“I misspoke”
“That statement was too broad”
“imprecise and overbroad”
“I regret that”
“management missteps”
“should have been more rigorous”
“should have been completed in a much shorter period of time”
“owes them more respect than they were shown”
“should have worked with them”
“I should have communicated the concerns more effectively”
“I should have informed them of my decisions in a more dignified manner”
“could have been handled much better”
“I want to apologize publicly”
Hat tip to Think Progress.

Confidential to Brendan Kiley…

…who offers, ahem, thoughts about the Seattle Center.
There were a few different proposals (knock down Memorial Stadium, replace it with underground parking and a lawn on top). There were a few quibbles from the audience. (Most comically from a guy who thought altering Memorial Stadium would insult the veterans. Look, pal: It's an ugly-ass stadium. Leaving it up is an insult to the veterans.)
You might try asking a veteran. Leave the damn stadium alone.

Better yet, dress it up as befits its history as the tribute of Seattle high school students to their classmates who fell in World War II.

The only thing "ugly-ass" about the stadium is insistent ignorance of its meaning.

This KBO moment brought to you in honor of the recent return of Mossback.

Wow, man.

Postman reports on those trippy GOP State Senators...
I'm not sure what's going on with the Senate Republican Caucus today... As I walked up to the door of the caucus room, I heard from inside:
So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain. Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail? A smile from a veil? Do you think you can tell?
Yes, the Republicans are in a closed caucus meeting listening to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here."
Can decriminalization be far behind?

From his keyboard…

…to the cosmic muffin's wish list. Needlenose:
...Domenici falls. Richardson appoints. Dems get the seat, beefing their majority, and Joe Lieberman becomes a back-bencher where he can ponder the remainder of his Senate career shunned by those he betrayed and ignored by those who never liked him. It's a triple trick-shot worthy of Minnesota Fats and the first ball just got lined up.
Dare we believe?


An important truth.

Ezra Klein:
"...we have to remember that Cho is the only person who's ever done a spree killing of this size in America. Ever. The data shows that Cho was a danger to society, but the data also shows, overwhelmingly, that most kids who seem like Cho aren't."

Chip, chip, chippin' away.

The Supreme Court has taken its first long-anticipated whack at a woman's right to reproductive choice, and by extension at each of our rights to conduct our personal affairs, including accessing medical treatment, privately. Hotline On Call has reaction from both Democratic and Republican Presidential aspirants (as usual, we're right and they're wrong). Credit Senator Obama with nailing the underlying threat and identifying the battle ground for privacy advocates in the near term.
"I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women.”
More than equal rights for women, of course, Roe v. Wade is a limitation on the invasive powers of government that affects us all, but beyond that, Obama is spot on. Look for a landslide of new restrictions from Republican controlled legislatures emboldened by this decision. This kind of law wouldn't get through, hell, wouldn't get a hearing from, the Democratic Congress, but the GOP will make an end run around the will of the people through their packed courts. Americans who value their liberty and their privacy are challenged to a new level of vigilance and activism at the state level.

Of course, the reason that the new restrictions approved by the court don't include protections for the life and health of a mother is that the procedure being prohibited is very rare, typically undertaken on an emergency basis specifically to protect the live and health of the mother. Eventually, one of those mothers will die as a result of this legislation and this decision. There will be plenty of hands to smear with the her blood.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

He's not just a member...

…it seems he's the treasurer of the Anybody But Hillary Club. Taegan Goddard posts...
Much was made of Hollywood mogul David Geffen's defection from Sen. Hillary Clinton and his subsequent support of Sen. Barack Obama.

What we didn't know -- until campaign finance reports were filed earlier this week -- was that Geffen also gave the maximum contribution of $2300 to John Edwards and Sen. Christopher Dodd.
This 'money primary' stuff is capturing more of my interest than usual this cycle.

Money comes and goes…

…and where it goes to is just as interesting as where it comes from. Via hotlineblog...
Sen. Hillary Clinton paid her pollster/strategist Mark Penn $277K, Obama reported spending: $106,500 on polling, and Ex-Sen. John Edwards reported spending nothing.
At this point, campaigns aren't really polling the horse race, they're polling message. I guess poor John Edwards is stuck talking to people about the things he things are actually important and proposing solutions he actually believes in.

I think I like that.

Upper left loot.

What Democrats are raising hereabouts...
John Edwards: $250,175
Barack Obama: $223,544
Hillary Clinton: $91,255
Bill Richardson: $37,710
Chris Dodd: $34,900
Joe Biden: $11,500

Monday, April 16, 2007

Another installment of…

…wild about Harry.
"The offer is that the President sign our bill."
Hat tip to mcjoan

Worth repeating.

...without Limbaugh and Coulter…
Without Hannity and Hume…
Without Will and Gingrich…
Without DeLay and Drudge…
Without Coulter and Malkin…
Without O’Reilly and Savage…
Without Dobson and Cheney…
Without Goldberg and Lott…
Without Falwell and Robertson…
Without Schafly and Tancredo…
Without all the rest of that loud, vile, Democracy-loathing freak-show...

There. Is. No. Republican. Party.


There. Is. No. Conservative. Movement.

And oh so true.

Primary cash on hand.

Clinton leads the field with $24 million in the bank, followed by Obama with $18 million, Edwards with $9.8 million, Dodd with $7.5 million, Richardson with $5 million, and Biden with $2.8 million.
Dodd's number is the most impressive to me, and may be a harbinger of his move ahead of Richardson in the "possible long shot" sweepstakes.

To be honest, Chris Dodd is one of the main reasons I'm still officially undecided, so I'm fairly pleased to see this.

Time for Joe Biden to respect the 'last guy to $5 mill drops out' rule.

OK, I just made that up. But it's time.

That Kerry fella…

plays the never say never card.
When asked whether he expected that decision to change in time for the 2008 race, Kerry said, "If suddenly the field changed or the dynamics of the nation shifted, who knows? You might look at it differently, but I don't see that. I don't foresee that. That's not where I am today and that's not what I'm doing."
Brings to mind an anecdote from the reception preceding his recent Seattle Town Hall appearance. I was sporting a 'Veterans for Kerry' lapel pin for the occasion and pointed out to the Senator that there was no year on it. He grinned and said "That's right, and I don't want a year on it."


Krugman, via Kos:
There’s no conflict between catering to the Democratic base and staking out positions that can win in the 2008 election, because the things the base wants — an end to the Iraq war, a guarantee of health insurance for all — are also things that the country as a whole supports. The only risk the party now faces is excessive caution on the part of its politicians.
Actually, that's been truer than most folks think for longer than most will admit. After all, we're mainstream, they're extreme.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

And now...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Random ten.

"I am still a Deadhead." Edition
Grateful Dead - Tennessee Jed 2/26/73
Grateful Dead - Terrapin Station 9/12/91
Grateful Dead - The Other One 4/2/69
Grateful Dead - Chinatown Shuffle 5/11/72
Grateful Dead - One More Saturday Night 8/7/82
Grateful Dead - Playing In The Band 7/29/88
Grateful Dead - Cream Puff War 7-16-66
Grateful Dead - So Many Roads 7/9/95
Grateful Dead - Uncle John's Band 7/26/87
Grateful Dead - Samson & Delilah 5/21/77

Friday, April 13, 2007

Good Great question.

How many journalists sent e-mails to White House officials' accounts? How many journalists currently covering the e-mail story did this?

A few words…

…for the "but he's not a real conservative" crowd, from Chris Dashiell.
If you’ve turned a blind eye to torture, the killing of innocents for profit, and the undermining of the American Constitution itself, your sudden realization that Bush is fiscally irresponsible does not qualify as an act of moral redemption.
Chris has more. As always, it's all worth your while.

I'm gonna get ya, I'm gonna get ya...

...look out now cause I'm gonna get ya.

The lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat is gonna make you love her.

Yes, she is, yes, she is.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Me too.

Matt Yglesias:
"If I had a choice between leading in national polls (Clinton), leading in fundraising (Obama), or leading in Iowa (Edwards) I'd take leading in Iowa."
I'm not sure it means as much as he seems to think - not yet, anyway - but yeah, me too.


Kagro X makes a funny...
Leahy also drew one key parallel to Watergate:
"Like the famous 18-minute gap in the Nixon White House tapes, it appears likely that key documentation has been erased or misplaced. This sounds like the Administration's version of 'the dog ate my homework.'"
Media note: Suggested scandal nickname, DogAte.


Kurt Vonnegut
1922 - 2007

Kurt Vonnegut is one of a handful of modern American writers whose work changed the way I've viewed not only literature, but the world around me for most of my life. His place of stature among men of letters is secure, as is his place in the hearts of generations of readers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

From the "What the world needs now…" file.

Senator Obama:
"What we need today is a surge in honesty."

(Do the kids still say 'word'?)

I'm still wild about…

"We are speaking for the American people; he isn't."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Mollie nails it...
And really, how “good” of a man can he possibly be if these are the thoughts that lurk just beneath the surface? His colleagues clearly have a much different notion of what constitutes a good man than I.

I dunno. Maybe he's evil…

…but that doesn't mean he's always wrong. Moqtada al-Sadr:
"We live at this moment and so far 48 months of anxiety, oppression and occupational tyranny have passed, four years which have only brought us more death, destruction and humiliation. Every day tens are martyred, tens are crippled and every day we see and hear U.S. interference in every aspect of our lives, which means that we are not sovereign, not independent and therefore not free. This is what Iraq has harvested from the U.S. invasion."

Monday, April 09, 2007

...+ 10 =


Over five a day so far in April.


Elsewhere, + 311.

God damn.

They're still doing it.

I still hate it.

CNN, via Think Progress:
“The Pentagon today, as we speak, is reviewing a request from commanders in Iraq for the extension of the tour of duty for up to 15,000 Army troops. four combat ground brigades. One combat aviation brigade. their tours might be extended up to 120 days. Why? Because the Pentagon has to find a way to keep that so-called troop surge going.”
  Again, it's not "more troops." In too many cases, it's the same troops, over and over, for longer and longer.

They've broken my Army.



To Kos & (now larger) family.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Good question.

Dick Cavett:
“Mr. President, we are into our fifth year of this bloody war. Is it sacrilege to ask just what’s been so hot about the performance of our generals on the ground?”

Hat tip to driftglass.

His Obama problem…

…is pretty much mine, too. Neil the Ethical Werewolf writes
I remember when I was reading an article on top Obama consultant David Axelrod, and I saw this bit of rhetoric:
Obama's central theme was the promise of the future, of himself: "Let's be the generation," he said over and over again, that meets the big challenges of the day - poverty, energy independence, the environment. "What's stopped us from meeting these challenges," he said, "is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics."
And I thought, "what a piece of garbage". What's stopped us from meeting these challenges isn't anything Broderesque like the smallness of politics or the failure of leadership. It's the Republican Party. Give Democrats the Presidency and filibuster-proof majorities, and you'll see action on all these major challenges.
Damn straight.

One side or the other, Senator.

Without apology.

And now...

The recent recognition for the "Sunday with Speaker Sam" series was the prod I needed, I guess, to come up with a format for "Passages..."

What'cha think?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Good question.

Josh Marshall, via The Carpetbagger Report...
“[I]s there any question now that the eight firings we know about now is only the tip of the iceberg of what’s going on in the Bush-Gonzales DOJ?”

Big ol' goofy list...

...of random tunes.
John Prine - Big Ol' Goofy World
Muddy Waters - I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man
Arlo Guthrie - Deportees (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)
Jerry Garcia - Might As Well
Nick Drake - Day Is Done
Townes Van Zandt - Tecumseh Valley
Bare Naked Ladies - Brian Wilson
Odetta - Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
Clarence Bucaro - Light Me A Candle
Guy Clark - Queenie's Song

Friday, April 06, 2007

OK, cat blogging's back...

...but the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat doesn't seem particularly pleased about it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Gee, thanks.

The 2006 Neiwert Awards have been announced by the Northwest Progressive Institute, and the longtime Upper Left feature, Sunday With Speaker Sam, has been recognized as a winner in the Best Series category. To have this blog associated in any way with a journalist of the caliber of David Neiwert is a significant honor in itself. To have my efforts validated by my colleagues in the progressive blogging community is equally so. I'm gratified and humbled.

Congratulations to the other 2006 awardees:

Best Guest Blogger
HOMINID VIEWS (note: As a recipient of Darryl's guest blogging services, I heartily second this one.)

Most Valuable Faith Perspective

Best Campaign Blog

Most Valuable Explanatory Reporting

Most Innovative Post

Best Local Party Coverage

Most Valuable Partnership

Best Electoral Commentary

Best Neighborhood Newsgathering

Best Topical Blog


The Preznit...
"A strategy that encourages this enemy to wait us out is dangerous."
Shouldn't someone tell him that this enemy has to wait us out? That they, you know, live there?

And that war, by the way, is pretty much dangerous by definition.

No doubt, he's the...


Via Editor & Publisher
On February 9, the Savannah Morning News reported: "At least 143 soldiers joined Fort Stewart's 1st Brigade too late to participate in a final combat exercise before their units deployed to Iraq. Last week, one of those soldiers - Pvt. Matthew T. Zeimer, 18 - was the first from the brigade to be killed when he was hit by enemy fire in Ramadi, the stronghold of Iraq's Sunni insurgency.
An eighteen year old Private. An E-deuce, I guess. Time was you had to make PFC before a combat deployment. No time for that anymore. As one of the brigade's NCO's said, "They're basically going straight from basic training into Iraq."

And now we learn it was a 'friendly' fire incident.

Was Pvt. Zeimer killed by other half-trained troops?

Or did Pvt. Zeimer die because he was half trained himself?

Who knows.

I only know that I hate what they're doing to my Army.

Hat tip to AmericaBlog.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Just typing out loud.

Who was the last contender for the Democratic nomination who captured the imagination of Democrats across the nation after besting the media-christened 'front-runner' in fundraising, a substantial portion of which came from small donations solicited via the internet?

How'd that work out?

Do you think Obama wants the DNC job?

Duh quote of the day.

Tucker Carlson:
"The truth is, a lot of Republicans aren't very smart."
Well duh.

Good question.

From Big Tent Democrat...
Obama, the political rock star, raised alot of money. Obama the wishy washy pol, the one we have seen on Iraq, will he remain as popular? Will he raise as much money?

Dear Belgium…

Please reject Sam Fox's diplomatic credentials. If you're a real country, demand a real ambassador, one who can secure a real appointment and who is capable of providing real diplomacy between our nations. Don't accept this second rate insult to your national status and sovereignty.

Don't worry about offending our dictator. We're not supposed to have one.



That Kerry fella…

…and his brilliant and beautiful bride were in town last night promoting their new book, This Moment On Earth, so the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left and I made the trek to Seattle's Town Hall for the occasion.

Thanks to the folks at PublicAffairs Books, who provided the invite, and the folks at the University of Washington who provided the caterer, we started out at a pre-event reception. I got a chance to touch base with DiAnne Grieser, a friend from Kerry Meet Up days and sometime guest photographer for Upper Left. Campaign pals are like combat buddies - it's always a treat to catch up. The reception also afforded my first fact to face meetings with N.P.I. founder Andrew Villeneuve and Lynn Allen of Pacific Views, a pleasing bonus.

Soon enough, the couple of the hour arrived, fresh from a dinner at Teresa's favorite Seattle restaurant, Wild Ginger. In fact, the last time I saw the Kerrys together, they'd just come from celebrating their wedding anniversary at Wild Ginger. (I'm afraid the perfect tavern is a little too far off the beaten track to attract their custom, but I'd sure like to demonstrate the superiority of northwest chowder to my favorite Bostonian.)

Kerry's remarks to the reception were brief, but he did take the opportunity to introduce Helen Reddout, an eastern Washington farmer whose efforts to bring the industrial farms that have been crowding the Yakima valley into compliance with the Clean Water Act is one of the stories highlighted in the book. This Moment On Earth is largely devoted to similar examples of the ability of citizens to take local action and end up having far-reaching impact on improving the environment.

After his comments, I took advantage of a little schmooze time with the Senator while the BBBUL wielded the camera. (In this shot, the Senator is reading a proposed motion designed, apparently, to put the Republicans on the spot by calling for a vote that would endorse an open-ended war of any kind Bush wanted to wage. I quipped that I preferred Reid-Feingold. Kerry just smiled. (He's already agreed to co-sponsor Reid-Feingold.)

From there it was to the auditorium for the main event of the evening. After thanking the locals for their hard work in '04, everything, he noted "…except moving to Ohio," (Yes, it was a joke. Yes, he delivered it very well. Yes, everybody laughed.) he began to describe the book and the stories that motivated it, keeping to a positive theme. The success stories in the book, he insisted, reflect "the optimism we ought to have." While he recognizes the scope and urgency of a number of environmental crises, including but not limited to climate change, he is still resolute in his belief that "We can do this."

Throughout his remarks I admit to being distracted by the thought of how amazing it would be to have a President of the United States who could get up and discuss a matter of public import extemporaneously and intelligently, with data and details fully within his or her grasp, for forty minutes or so. Hey, a guy can dream.

Teresa took her turn and her passion for these issues, issues which have occupied decades of her attention as they have John's, was evident. I took note of her insistence that these are universal, rather than partisan, concerns. It's also a theme of the book, which includes a Bush campaign coordinator from New Mexico and some major corporations on its roster of environmental heroes. "People can't hide behind these (partisan) games," she said. "This is not a 'games' book. This is life."

In fact, Kerry noted that one of the reasons he stepped out of the '08 Presidential mix was in order to get the message of This Moment On Earth more widely heard, rather than let it be muffled by the fog of political motivation that a Presidential campaign would likely inspire.

The closest thing to fireworks came during the Q&A. When a woman confronted Teresa with the charge that global climate change is a fraud, Teresa patiently held her ground and cited the science. When the questioner continued to pursue her point without acknowledging Teresa's, Kerry interceded. It went something like this…
John Kerry: May I ask you a question?

Confrontational Questioner: Global warming…fraud…conspiracy…blah, blah, blah.

JK: Fine, may I ask you a question now?

CQ: Fraud…conspiracy…petition…blah, blah, blah.

JK: OK, may I ask you a question now?

CQ: Fraud…conspiracy…genocide…blah, blah, blah.

JK: Do you represent Lyndon LaRouch?

CQ: Yes.

JK: Lyndon LaRouche is nuts.
That last line is verbatim.

And it's the truth.

(This is about the most ambitious layout I've ever tried, by the way. It finally looks ok on my IE screen with the font set for arial, medium. Hope it works for you.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Plain, simple...

...and without apology, Harry tells the truth.
"Democrats will send President Bush a bill that gives our troops the resources they need and a strategy in Iraq worthy of their sacrifices. If the President vetoes this bill he will have delayed funding for troops and kept in place his strategy for failure."

He does go on and on and on at times…

…but if you sort it out, Joe Biden can make a good point plainly. On (not-so-saintly-lately) McCain's absurd claims about conditions on the Iraqi street, via the Hotline blog...
You may be able to bring order into a neighborhood, but you don't have enough troops to bring order to the country, and even if you did, it doesn't produce a political solution.
Sic 'em, Joe.

Everything I need to know about Fred Thompson…

…I learned on the intertubes.


* Fred Thompson has on multiple occasions pronounced "nuclear" correctly.
* Fred Thompson has blasted more people in the face with a shotgun than even Dick Cheney.
* The masked executioner of Saddam Hussein: Fred Thompson.
* Not only does Fred Thompson cut taxes, he cuts tax collectors.
* Fred Thompson is the only person to have ever bested Miyamato Mushashi in a duel. The reason Musashi is so vague about the book of the void is because the fifth ring of combat is really Fred Thompson.
* The reason Fred Thompson didn't want to stay in the Senate for long is because all the extra scrutiny kept him from doing his favorite hobby: Prowling the streets at night killing drug dealers.
* Every night before going to sleep, Osama bin Laden checks under his bed for Fred Thompson.
* Fred Thompson took over what was Al Gore's Senate seat, thereby dramatically reducing the Senate's carbon footprint. Fred Thompson then created carbon offset offsets by wastefully burning hippies.
* The Fremen consider "Fred Thompson" a killing word.
* Fred Thompson reconsidered running for reelection after 9/11 but later decided to handle things on his own. He was soon seen entering the Middle East with a bottle of tequila in one hand an a handgun in the other. They're still counting the dead.
* Though Fred Thompson left the Senate in 2003, Harry Reid still hasn't stopped wetting his pants.
* Fred Thompson's gaze can kill small animals.
* Fred Thompson once ended a filibuster by ripping out a Senator's heart and showing it to him before he died.
* The actual cause of global warming: Fred Thompson's burning rage.
* The budget to Law & Order was dramatically increased when Fred Thompson was added to the cast because he has to be digitally inserted into the scenes since anytime he's near Hollywood liberals, he kills them.
* Only two things can kill Superman: Kryptonite and Fred Thompson.
* Fred Thompson once stood on our south border and glared at Mexico. There was no illegal immigration for a month.
* Scientists predict that when Fred Thompson dies he'll explode taking out the five nearest planets before collapsing into a black hole.
* At a campaign stop, a Belgian Hound tried to hump Fred Thompson's leg. That breed of dog no longer exists.
* Fred Thompson vows not only to win in Iraq but also to forcefully free Vietnam from Communism, thus giving America a perfect win/loss record for wars again.
* If you purchase a weather radio, it will wake you up with an alarm to warn you when Fred Thompson is pissed off.
* An abortion doctor tried to kill Fred Thompson when he was still in the womb, but he cut off the man's hand with scalpel while shouting, "Do you know who I am? I'm Fred Thompson!"
* Webster's Dictionary defines "conservatism" as "how closely one's views resemble those of Fred Thompson."
* Fred Thompson's sense of strategy is so great that he can checkmate you using only a pawn and a knight.
* Fred Thompson can know both the exact position and momentum of a particle. Furthermore, he knows Schroedinger's cat is dead because he personally strangled it.
* The most efficient airline security is to have Fred Thompson stare down everyone entering a plane.
* When terrorists get to the afterlife, they'll find that none of their seventy-two women are still virgins. Why? Because of Fred Thompson.
* Fred Thompson can open clamshell packaging without the slightest trouble.
* In a butterfly ballot, no matter where you punch it the vote goes to Fred Thompson.
* Why does Iran want nuclear weapons? Out of fear of Fred Thompson.
* Some versions of the Bible have Mathew 5:5 read, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth... unless Fred Thompson wants it."

Elsewhere on the intertubes, Goldy reminds us that Fred Thompson is also a "...Gucci-wearing, Lincoln-driving, Perrier-drinking, Grey Poupon-spreading millionaire Washington special interest lobbyist." Not as inspiring as some of the attributes listed above, perhaps, but it has the advantage of being true.

Who knew?

Dr. Streak is a cartoonist comic artist!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Come early...

The 4th Infantry Division headquarters unit from Fort Hood, Texas, will return to Iraq after a little more than seven months at home - the largest departure to date from the Army's goal of giving units at least a year's rest after every year deployed. The 1st Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, based at Ft. Drum, N.Y., will go back to Iraq after just 10 1/2 months at home.
…stay late.
Whitman said the latest deployment orders released Monday would also require the Hawaii-based 25th Infantry Division Headquarters unit to stay in Iraq for about 46 days longer than its planned year.
I hate what they're doing to my Army.

For another day...

...if only for a day, the Seattle Mariners continue to ride atop Major League Baseball standings with a shutout defeat of their arch-rivals, the Oakland Athletics.

Gotta love opening day.

Go M's!

OK, maybe I gave up too soon…

…on that quote of the day search. Lynn Cheney's pal Vic Gold offers a contender with this withering take on Lynn's other pal, Shooter.
"A vice president in control is bad enough. Worse yet is a vice president out of control."
More at Down With Tyranny and a hat tip to Crooks & Liars.

I'll yield…

…to Macswain at Comments From Left Field, who has decreed that...
...the quote of the day goes to NBC's Tom Aspell who apparently has grown a set and wasn't biting on McCain's PR trip. Aspell said that with the level of protection McCain had: “even Paris Hilton could ride a bicycle in a bikini through Anbar province.”

Sunday, April 01, 2007

From the "Since you asked..." file.

Mark Kleiman wonders...
When senior Bushies defect, that's bad for Bush and good for the country. Shouldn't Democrats and progressives welcome the converts rather than making sarcastic remarks about them?
Since you asked, no.

At least, not necessarily.

And certainly not before copious acts of penance.

Something's happening.

Can you imagine these bits of news being reported this way just a Friedman or so ago?
BAGHDAD -- After a heavily guarded trip to a Baghdad market, Sen. John McCain insisted Sunday that a U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown in the capital was working and said Americans lacked a "full picture" of the progress. The U.S. military later reported six soldiers were killed in roadside bombings southwest of Baghdad.

Among the things…

…that I'm not ready to make nice about is the legacy of Barry Goldwater. While some may pine for the gruff honesty of his latter days, his vision of America would have been awful if implemented. You can count me among those who believe LBJ did many wonderful things for America, so many that the balance of history will fall in his favor regardless of the disaster of Vietnam, an error he at least came to recognize and accept responsibility for. Perhaps the very best thing of all, though, was keeping Barry Goldwater out of the White House.

Still, Phil Nugent offers an intriguing proposition at No More Mr. Nice Blog...
I wish I could use one of my three wishes to bring Goldwater back from the dead just long enough to let him have three minutes to share his thoughts on the current administration with the nearest microphone.
Make that the post-retirement Barry and I'm in.

And now...

...a passage from the Prairie Populist.
"In the hour of danger the government can draft the citizen; it ought to be able to draft the pocketbook as well. Unless money is more precious than blood, we cannot afford to give greater protection to the incomes of the rich than to the lives of the poor."

William Jennings Bryan,