Friday, August 31, 2007

The House Of Labor begins to weigh in.

On the heels of Dodd's endorsement by the Fire Fighters and Clinton's nod from the Transit Workers and Machinists, there's word that the Carpenters are lining up behind my man John...
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America endorsed Democratic candidate John Edwards for President at a closed door executive board meeting this week. With over 500,000 carpenters and tradespeople, the union is a huge pick-up for Edwards. The union's public announcement will likely come the first week of September at an event in New Hampshire.
Many's the time that phone banks at Carpenter's Hall have turned an election in these parts and the Carpenters are an influential voice among the broader base of the building trades. It's a big one.

Congrats, Senator Edwards.

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Sad news.

Karen Marchioro, a powerful and prominent Bellevue Democrat credited with reshaping the state party in the early 1980s, died this yesterday morning from cancer. She was 73.
Karen and I crossed paths a lot over the years. I got to know her best while she was State Party Chair and I was State Young Democrats Chair. Over the next couple decades she was variously a mentor, an ally and an adversary. She was always a Democrat, without apology, and she was always a friend.


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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Barack's buddy...

Via The Iowa Independent...
The Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act appeared to be on the fast track in Congress until Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., put a hold on it because of 2nd Amendment concerns.
So, Senator Obama, since Senator Coburn is on your short list of potential Republican advisors, what issues will you seek his guidance on? Veterans? Guns? Or what?

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Three truths.

I've laid off the furor over Brian Baird's adoption of the 'we broke it, we own it' approach to Iraq, not because I agree with Rep. Baird, though his argument, while wrong, isn't irrational. Nope, it's just that I remember Linda Smith and don't for a minute believe that WA-3 couldn't go that way again. Russell Shaw reminds progressives...

There are three truths about Rep. Baird the NetRoots tend to forget.

First, he is on your side on most of the issues: an environmentalist with a thoughtful conscience, pro-choice, pro-labor, pro-public education and more.

Second, you may think he was "brainwashed," but I'd argue that brainwashing is rarely successful with someone of his particular professional qualifications and persuasion. That'd be Brian Baird, Ph.D. in psychology.

Third, although the Washington Third District leans slightly Democratic and Baird got 60 percent of the vote last time, this is still a swing district. Beyond the hip areas of downtown Vancouver, Wash., and the quite liberal enclaves of Olympia (where Rep. Baird is from), the district is full of small towns full of gun-loving, pious Republicans who listen to Rush, Sean Hannity and Lars Larson. These are people who only love spotted owls for dinner, have doubts about evolution but no doubts that Saddam was in on 9/11.
On balance, he's on our side. For those who think the recent ruckus at his town hall meeting in Vancouver demonstrates potential for a more resolutely anti-war primary challenge, well, it's not only fairly easy to gather up a couple hundred folks to shout down most anyone who stands for most anything, it's also profoundly illiberal to do so.

There are better targets. They're called Republicans.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007


President Carter on my man John...
"I can say without equivocation that no one who is running for president has presented anywhere near as comprehensive and accurate a prediction of what our country ought to do in the field of environmental quality, in the field of health care for those who are not presently insured, for those who struggle with poverty."

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Lesson learned…

…by some, still to be taught to many. DarkSyde offers a lesson plan...
The tragic lesson of Katrina is what will happen when men and women who openly despise our government -- who brag they plan to weaken it until they can drown it in a bathtub -- are allowed to govern.
In other words, it's what happens when you let people who don't care about you govern you.

And it's still happening.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

From the "Compared to what?" file.

The headline is promising...

US poverty rate declines significantly

…and the lede...
The nation's poverty rate was 12.3 percent in 2006, down from 12.6 percent a year before, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday…

…but, as usual, the devil is in the details, and the details are a few paragraphs down...
The last significant decline in the poverty rate came in 2000, during the Clinton administration, when it went from 11.9 percent to 11.3 percent.

The poverty rate increased every year for the next four years, peaking at 12.7 percent in 2004.
So, if a year to year improvement of .003 is significant, the full percentage point that the poverty rate has risen under Bush could only be called, what, dramatic? Massive? Totally unsurprising, given the unrestrained class war he's waged on working Americans?

In a country pushing 400 million people, an extra one percent in poverty is a buncha group of folks, and it's hardly the whole story. The official standard for poverty is pretty deceptive. I know there are regional differences in the cost of living, but I don't think there's any city on the west coast where you can feed, house, cloth, transport and educate a family of four on $20,444 a year without a boost from food stamps, food banks, housing subsidies, child care subsidies, free school lunches and such. You know, poverty programs.

You can just about bet that that 20k job doesn't come with a family health care plan, either.

On the brighter side, John Edwards has a plan.

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The final numbers.

Yep, we burned Bush.

Of course, you can still help Darcy via the Upper Left ActBlue page.

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Pretty much.

Yglesias on the Craig business...
Fundamentally, though, for me this seems like a sad story about a bad Senator who's going to go down for no particularly good reason only to be replaced by another conservative Republican who's just as bad.

Pretty much.

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A modest proposal.

How about limiting the search for a new AG to the ranks of US Attorneys fired Alberto Gonzales? They're all Republican lawyers with DOJ experience. One of them should be able to fill in for a year or so.

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That would be me…

for instance.
Number of Uninsured Americans Hits Record High

...the number of Americans without health insurance rose to a record high of 47 million in 2006, according to Census figures released today.
Heckuva job, Bushie.



My man John
"I think if you give drug companies, insurance companies and their lobbyists a seat at the table, they'll eat all the food."
Hat tip to The Iowa Independent.

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I'm surprised, and not at all displeased, by this.
The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) is set to announce its endorsement of Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd in the 2008 presidential race later this week.
I don't think it's enough, but it's something and Senator Dodd should receive more of the attention his typically thoughtful and well-informed positions deserve. It does shift the political axis a bit, and may push Richardson off the radar as the media's rising star.

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From the "Me too" file.

Frank Dwyer on Obama's Republican buddies...
"...I'm much more likely to support a Democratic candidate who gives us a list of which Republicans should be going to jail."
Me too.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

All y'all?

Ya did good.

Still time to help with the push to hit 3000 contributors tonight.

Burn Bush

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From the "Credit where it's due" file.

Mike Huckabee might be wrong about most everything else, but he's right about this.
...a lot of the Republicans who have condemned them and talk about their platform of family values, interestingly, didn't keep their own families together. Give Bill and Hillary Clinton credit for doing something we say they should have done, and that is holding their marriage together in spite of enormous trials.

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While I gather my thoughts…

…everyone else seems to have something to say about Gonzo. For instance, my man John...
"Better late than never."

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Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel, via The Gavel...
"Alberto Gonzales is the first Attorney General who thought the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth were three different things."

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All I can say…

…is hooray!

Well, I could say more, and probably will, but it'll keep until the dust settles.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Keep it coming.

Burn Bush

Do it for Darcy.

Do it for America.


OK, maybe. And Warner, too. I mean, they're Republicans, but they are (or at least seem) relatively sane and arguably have a measure of expertise worth considering before rejecting, but this?
"I would also seek out people like Tom Coburn, who is probably the most conservative member of the U.S. Senate. He has become a friend of mine."
On what issues, I wonder, would Senator Obama seek Coburn's counsel.


I wonder, too, about the basis of their friendship. Could it be satisfaction on Barack's part that he found a white guy as crazy as Alan Keyes?

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And now...


Not "Safe," not yet…

…but good news just the same in the new Rothenberg ratings.
· Gregoire (D-WA)


Saturday, August 25, 2007

I'm a kewl kid!
Thanks, Ben!

It would be even kewler if y'all clicked through and threw a few bucks Darcy's way.

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You hardly need me to tell you…

…since every big league blogger in the country seems to be all over the story, but there's a weekend long campaign to raise $100,000 for Darcy Burner to respond to George W.'s impending visit to the upper left to help out his buddy, Brand W Dave Reichert.

It seems to be going very well - about halfway home one day in - but all hands are needed. You can use the Upper Left ActBlue page, as always, or join the party at the Burn Bush page, though I don't have a special referral code like the kewl kidz.

And don't forget to sign up for Darcy's virtual Town Hall, featuring Ambassador Joe Wilson.

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This week's random ten…
Claude Hopkins - On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Chris Connor with the Ellis Larkin Trio - I Hear Music
MJQ - The Jasmine Tree
Charles Mingus - Haitian Fight Song
Herb Ellis & Duke Robillard - Robin's Nest
Charlie Haden & Michael Brecker - America The Beautiful
The B3 Bombers with Clyde Stubblefield - Cumulus Day
Django Reinhardt - In A Sentimental Mood
Miles Davis - So What
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis & Johnny Griffin - What's Happening

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Friday, August 24, 2007


Pierce on the Preznit
You would not think you could stuff that much stupid into a single human being, but they managed to do it.
Ain't it the truth. And this, too, is true.
Any piece summoning up Rove's career that doesn't mention that he never drew a public breath without being enormously destructive to everything that matters about this country, and that he should be watering the flowerbeds at Allenwood until halfway through the Chelsea Clinton Administration, is only telling half the story.
More truth? Charles Pierce is an American treasure.

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Me too.

Matt Yglesias...
I think the Democrat best positioned to deal with GOP political mobilization in a post-attack environment is going to be the one who isn’t reflexively inclined to see failed Republican policies resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Americans as a political advantage for the Republicans.

Are you listening, Mrs. Clinton?

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

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Senator Obama:
"It's always a shock to the system when Sunday morning you wake up and you're face to face with Mike Gravel."
Impolitic? Perhaps. Funny? You, as the Ballardians say, betcha.

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Well put.

Neil the Ethical Werewolf:
"America needs a president who's wearing the progressive movement's jersey, not a referee's stripes."
That, of course, would be my man John.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

From the "Glad you noticed" file…

AP - Army Secretary Pete Geren on Thursday ruled out extending troop deployments beyond the current 15 months, saying that longer tours in Iraq put stress on soldiers and their families, and have contributed to an increase in suicides.
I'm kind of surprised they care, though, considering all they've done to my Army.

Which, by the way, I hate.

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Duh quote of the day.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, on reports that U.S. banks and thrifts suffered the biggest increase in late loan payments in 17 years…
"The bottom line for banks is that the credit environment continues to be more challenging now than it has been in recent years."

Not so great for consumers, either.

Hat tip to Atrios.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Did I say 3707?

I meant 3722.

Back to three-a-days.



This again, too...

Reuters - Excessive amounts of lead paint on toys and other children's products led the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a recall of more than 300,000 Chinese-made items on Wednesday.
There's a reason they call it cheap crap.

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Of course…

this is what sovereignty is supposed to look like.
AP - Iraq's prime minister lashed out Wednesday at U.S. criticism, saying no one has the right to impose timetables on his elected government and that his country "can find friends elsewhere."
A sovereign elected government reigns! We won!

Let's go home.


Here we go again.


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David Mizner on my man John...
...there's no question that he's in the thick of the race--an astounding accomplishment given the effort of the elite media to take him down and the celebrity of his two top rivals. One of the big un-discussed stories of the race is that Edwards is not slipping, a la McCain. On the contrary.
There's more. Better, even. Go read.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007


As "over 3,000" turns to "nearly 4,000."



Good question…

…from John Patric at The Left Coaster.
Wouldn't it be a shame if the bickering created negatives for the Clinton and Obama campaigns and left Edwards looking as if he were above the fray, a decent guy, showing leadership by keeping it positive?
The correct answer is no, it wouldn't.

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Don't forget...

It's primary election day in the upper left, and if it slipped your mind there's still time for a dash to the polls. The elections today, local initiatives, municipal and judicial officers and such, are generally low profile and underfunded, so they're often overlooked. That means each individual vote is just a little bit more powerful, so go exercise the franchise and puff out your chest a bit.


C'mon, people. It's not trig.

It's not even algebra. It's simple arithmetic. The more people you pour into the meatgrinder, the more people you're gonna grind up.
June-July-August 2003: 113 Americans killed
June-July-August 2004: 162 Americans killed
June-July-August 2005: 217 Americans killed
June-July-August 2006: 169 Americans killed
June-July-August 2007: 229 Americans killed (August not over yet)
And the longer you leave them there? Do the math.

Hat tip to Kagro X


He should know.

"The demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply."

Gen. George Casey, Chief of Staff, US Army


It's always something.

If it's not one thing...
Foreclosure filings rose 9 percent from June to July and surged 93 percent over the same period last year, with Nevada, Georgia and Michigan accounting for the highest foreclosure rates nationwide, a research firm said Tuesday.'s another.
Americans earned a smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000, the fifth consecutive year that they had to make ends meet with less money than at the peak of the last economic expansion, new government data shows.
Is it 2009 yet?

Will we make it?

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Where have all the soldiers gone…

…long time passing.

When you hear about Petraeus planning troop reductions in the spring, it's not because he doesn't want them, it's because we don't have them.
The Army's 38 available combat units are deployed, just returning home or already tapped to go to Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, leaving no fresh troops to replace five extra brigades that President Bush sent to Baghdad this year, according to interviews and military documents reviewed by The Associated Press.
I know it's heresy to some, but it may be that Bush and Rummy and their gaggle of trained Generalsn (most of the actual leaders are long gone) have broken their heralded all-mercenary volunteer military to the point where only a returned to the much maligned conscript Army of yore will save the Army at all.

I hate what they've done to my Army (which had an abundance of honorable, and sometimes heroic, conscripted soldiers).

A snappy salute to Fixer.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Me too.

Peter McGowan on the Airborne non-coms whose NYT op-ed challenges the puffed up reports of progress in Iraq…
" far as I am concerned, these seven soldiers should be allowed to testify along with General David Petraeus in September when the progress of the Surge in Iraq is reported to Congress."

Me too.

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Sometimes I wish…

…that I didn't know what they're doing to my Army…
FORT MONROE, Va. -- The US Army, struggling to cope with stepped-up operations and extended deployments of its soldiers to Iraq, has shortened the duration of several of its bedrock training courses so that troops can return to fighting units on the front lines more quickly, according to senior training officials.

One training course that is considered the "first step" in educating newly minted sergeants -- the noncommissioned officers considered the backbone of Army units -- has been cut in half to 15 days. Meanwhile, an intensive program designed to prepare young officers for advanced leadership has been compressed from eight months to less than five months so that the Army can fill positions in constant demand from commanders in the Middle East.
…because I hate it so much. Still, I appreciate Fixer keeping me posted. I may not want to know, but we all need to know.

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And now...


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Once in a while…

…the good guys win one.
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it has scrapped a controversial plan to close seven of 13 field laboratories after congressional leaders and safety advocates said that the move would hurt the agency's ability to respond to public health emergencies.

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Welcome aboard.

Natch seems to like my man John.


Good question…

…from Dave Johnson.
Why should we expect our politicians to do what's right when all that happens when they do is they get beat up (first by other Dems), lied about, smeared, humiliated, destroyed, go broke, etc...
And a very good point.
And here is a huge difference between the right and us -- they are reaching the public-at-large with their message and we are not.
It's worth keeping in mind that when Democrats like the Blue Dogs jump ship in the way routinely condemned in blogtopia as "spineless," they're doing so because it's exactly what their constituency, which expects to be, well, represented by their Representatives, expects of them.

Until we change the expectations, we're not likely to get anything but what we've got, though losing what we have could jeopardize our Congressional majorities. Of course, being liberals and having values and all that, we're bound change those through education rather than the simple, and disturbingly effective, deceit that our opponents practice.

There are, no doubt, some constituencies more progressive than their elected officials. There may be the occasional productive struggle in those precincts. There are doubtless some where the officials are ahead of there voters, and it's important that they're given the support they need to bring their voters home in the fall.

Happily, I can stay closer to home and support a true-blue Democrat from the Democratic wing of the Democtatic Party.

Yep, Darcy.

And my own personal Congressman, of course.

Did I mention they're both on the Upper Left ActBlue page?

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random (adj.)

done, chosen, or occurring without a specific pattern, plan, or connection

The Vogues - Five O'Clock World
Jewel Akens - Love Potion No. 9
Reckless Kelly - Revolution
Rickie Lee Jones - Up From The Skies
The Wood Brothers - Tried And Tempted
Handful Of Luvin - East Coast
Dr. John - I Ain't No Johnny Mercer
The Band - Chest Fever
Dixie Chicks - Everybody Knows
Beth Orton - Shopping Trolley

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From the "Whatever it takes" file.

Neil the Ethical Werewolf:
If accent and cultural background can get people to think of a future President Edwards' policy proposals as moderate or even conservative, American politics could shift leftward in a way that we haven't seen for a very long time.
Works for me.


Friday, August 17, 2007

What they've done…

…to my Army. Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA)...
" the continental United States we do not have one combat-ready brigade. We have Code 1s deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, but we don't have any here...we've lost the backbone of the Army."


Worth repeating.

Lance Manion...

The Beltway Insiders assume that the only religious vote that matters is the white evangelical Protestant vote.

The Democrats' most loyal constituency includes some of the most devout Christians in the nation, African Americans. But they're not white so their religion doesn't count.

The Democrats are making serious inroads among some of the most devout Catholic voters in the nation, Hispanics. But they're not Prostestant so their religion doesn't count.

Recently, the Democrats have taken away the Republicans' advantage among Muslim voters. But they're not Christian so their religion doesn't count.

And everybody knows Jews are all atheists anyway, right?
Well, not all of us.

But I suppose I don't count.

Hat tip to Fixer.

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I love me some...

...evil flash eyes. The lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat seems less enthused.

Photo credit to the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Of course, it doesn't matter…

…who reports what to who if people don't believe them.
By 53 percent to 43 percent, most said they do not trust the top U.S. commander in Iraq to report what is truly happening there when he reports to Bush next month.
That's right. Most Americans expect to be lied to. That probably explains this...
Asked the impact of a positive report, 72 percent said it would not affect their view of the war while 28 percent said it would make them likelier to support it.
That, presumably, would be the 28% who already support it, though I'm not entirely certain what, exactly, 'support' entails or 'it' encompasses.

But jeebus. Most Americans expect the Commanding General to lie to them.


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Another election cycle...

...another Republican cash from crooks scandal.

GOP financier Alan Fabian's facing 23 counts of bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice and perjury. Doesn't really sound like a friend of law enforcement, does he?

Unless, perhaps, the law enforcer's become a lawmaker. Of course, Sheriff Dave's not alone...
Reps. Steve Chabot (Ohio), Jim Gerlach (Pa.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Jon Porter (Nev.), Heather Wilson (N.M.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), and Dave Reichert (Wash.) have each accepted $1,000 or more from Fabian in the last three years, according to records on file at the Federal Election Commission (FEC). (my emphasis)
Will McMorris-Rodgers and Reichert follow the lead of Mitt and Rudy and return the tainted cash?

While we're waiting to find out, we can help even the score for Darcy.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Good advice.

I'm not entirely sure I want her to follow it, but BC has some good advice for Hillary over at AMERICAblog
Let's face it, saying you're emulating Karl Rove's strategy in the Democratic primary is like saying you're getting parenting tips from Brittney and K-Fed. It's a bad idea, it seems amateurish and off-message. In short, it's something that Rove would never do.
He'd never deploy a campaign manager who admitted it, either.

Let's see.

My man John...
“Goodbye, good riddance.”
Bill's gal Hill?
"She expresses admiration…"
Choose one.

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Have I mentioned…

…that I hate what they're doing to my Army?
AP - Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.



They lied.
Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.

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Pass it on.

Bill in Portland Maine:
The "War on Christmas" starts tomorrow---three months early---so we can catch Bill O’Reilly off guard.

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From the "You get what you pay for" file.

Mattel Inc., the largest U.S. toy company, recalled millions more Chinese-made toys on Tuesday due to hazards from small, powerful magnets and lead paint, sending its shares down as much as 6 percent.
The Poison Republic of China.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

3699 +

27186 = 30885 killed and wounded.




…from David Mizner.
"...even if all the lobbyists on K-Street were to spontaneously combust from guilt, there would still be one political party bent on serving corporations and the rich, a party that for the last thirty years has made Democrats insecure and self-doubting, scared to be themselves. Republicans don't try to marginalize and demonize Democrats just because Corporate America wants them to but because they themselves want to."
Which, of course, is why…


Monday, August 13, 2007

My man John...

…on Rove's resignation.
“Goodbye, good riddance.”
That's it. That's enough.

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From the "Don’t let the door hit you…" file.

Karl Rove resigns, effective later this month, having seen the early collapse of his designs for a lasting Republican majority. Hard to tell what it means going forward, but Steve Benen argues persuasively that it will be style, not stategy, that he'll be remembered for.
No, Rove’s legacy has nothing to do with his so-called strategic brilliance. His significance has everything to do with his cutthroat, win-at-all-cost style. Rove believes the political rule that there are no rules. Laws are meant to be broken. Scandals are meant to be covered up. Enemies are meant to be destroyed. The key to electoral success is to tear the country in half and see who comes out with the bigger chunk.
Leaves me wondering - if we do end up with a President Obama, how much credit should we give Rove for lending potency to Barack's 'come let us reason together' message?

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

And now...


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ten more toe-tappers...

Bruce Hornsby - Resting Place
Emmylou Harris - The Price You Pay
Frank Black - If Your Poison Gets You
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Wasted On The Way
George Jones - If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong
Bruce Cockburn - Different When It Comes To You
The Crests - 16 Candles
Bobby Darin - Jive
Billy Joe Royal - Down In The Boondocks
Dwight Yoakum - Guitars, Cadillacs and Hillbilly Music

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Quote of the Day.

Deputy Chief Jimmy Riches, NYFD, on Rudy...
"On 9/11 all he did was run. He got that soot on him, and I don't think he's taken a shower since."
Hat tip to Digby.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Good advice.

From Charles Pierce...
If you're worried about "cheaters" holding hallowed records, don't hallow baseball records in the first place. They're just numbers and it really is only a damn ballgame. Yeesh.


She's back.

The lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat finally backed herself into a corner she couldn't escape before I grabbed the camera...


Thursday, August 09, 2007

A data point...

…from an Iowa poll, via Hominid Views.
…Obama actually finished third as the preferred general election candidate of registered Republicans, at 6.7 percent, behind Romney (21.8 percent), and Giuliani (10 percent), but ahead of Thompson (5.2 percent) and McCain (1.8 percent).
Obama staffer Josh Earnest has his take, that Obama...
“ the one [candidate] articulating a clear vision of standing up to special interests and uniting the country across party lines, across ideological lines.”
Darryl figures it reflects the sorry state of the Republican field.

Some of each, I figure, but the fact that Obama deletes his partisan ID from campaign mailings probably doesn't hurt.

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Welcome to the U.S. Mercenary Corps.

New bribes incentives
Under a new proposal, men and women who enlist could pick from a “buffet” of incentives, including up to $45,000 tax-free that they accrue during their career to help buy a home or build a business. Other options would include money for college and to pay off student loans.

An Associated Press review of the increasingly aggressive recruiting offerings found the Army is not only dangling more sign-up rewards — it’s loosening rules on age and weight limits, education and drug and criminal records.
Good news for old, fat, ignorant, addicted crooks, I guess (any resemblance to mutant branches of government purely coincidental. Besides, he has other priorities).

Why not an honest package of real education benefits for all enlistees, the traditional GI home loan and better access to medical services after discharge? One package of benefits for all enlistments, not different benefits for different troopers, depending on their bargaining ability in the mercenary marketplace.

I wonder how much of Jim Webb's veteran's education proposal could be funded with the Pentagon bribery budget.

I hate what they're doing to my Army.

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G.I. Blues

It's true that unions were essential to the creation of the American middle class in the post WWII era, but the impact of the WWII GI Bill was likely as significant. My Dad went to a private university with his books, fees, tuition and supplies fully paid, as well as a living allowance for his growing family. There was no time limitation on his benefits. He took some time off between war and school and took his time with his studies. It was a hell of a deal for him, and, it turned out, an even better deal for the country which benefited from the best educated generation it had ever produced.

By the time I got back from Vietnam, the GI Bill was a modest monthly stipend which could be used for school or living expenses as long as you carried a full load at an approved school. Of course, the stipend typically covered neither living nor school and it disappeared if you took a semester off or couldn't get a full roster of classes during summer sessions. As I recall, you had two years to complete each year of eligibility, which meant I had eight years from discharge to get all I was ever going to get. Interestingly, my Dad was still eligible for his GI Bill while I was collecting mine.

It's even worse for newly minted veterans today, especially for the reservists and Guardsmen who make up so much of the fighting forces in Iraq. VA Senator Jim Webb thinks we can do better. The Preznit doesn't think vets deserve it.
The Bush administration opposes a Democratic effort to restore full educational benefits for returning veterans, according to an official's comments last week.

Senate Democrats, led by Virginia's Jim Webb, want the government to pay every penny of veterans' educational costs, from tuition at a public university to books, housing and a monthly stipend.

Such a benefit was a major feature of the historic 1944 G.I. Bill, which put more than eight million U.S. soldiers through college and is now credited by historians as fueling the expansion of America's middle class in the post-war era.

But in recent years the benefit has dwindled; under the current law, passed in 1985, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan can expect Uncle Sam to cover only 75 percent of their tuition costs. That's not enough, say Democrats and veterans' advocates.
It would be expensive, no doubt, but, because of the relatively small number of Americans who are serving today, less so in many respects than the WWII GI Bill. Given the increasing importance of higher education in our society and economy, it might prove to be an even more productive investment than the earlier effort, itself a monumental success. It could be a step toward building an even greater generation.

There shouldn't be a cost/benefit measure applied in the first place, though. For those who serve, we as a society should be doing whatever we can, simply because we should.

George Bush, of course, doesn't care what should be done, because George Bush doesn’t care about veterans.

And he doesn’t care about you, either.

Hat tip to Joe Sudbay at AMERICABlog.

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Lies, damn lies and headlines.

More journamalism from the AP headline department.
Democrats Praise Military Progress
Folks scanning the big print for the news of the day might be excused for thinking that Democrats have finally seen the wisdom of the Preznit's policies, the success of the surge.

Except that Kimberly Hefling's actual article doesn't say much of anything like that.

Praise? How's this for praise. From Carl Levin, for instance (my emphasis throughout)…
Levin...said the troop build-up could not be considered a success because its purpose was to make way for political reconciliation, and that hasn't happened.
Or Dick Durbin…
Durbin, an Illinois senator who is traveling this week with Pennsylvania Sen. Casey, told CNN on Wednesday that "naturally" troops are routing out al-Qaida in parts of Iraq, but then explained there's no evidence of the government in the areas.
Jack Reed?
Reed, a Rhode Island senator who visited Iraq last month, said there's been tactical momentum, but it "has yet to translate itself into real political momentum, which is the key, I think, to progress."
Bob Casey comes closer…
In a conference call with reporters, Casey said one could make a good argument that U.S. troops have won the war, then accused Iraqi politicians and the Bush administration of not matching the intensity of the troops.

"The troops have met every assignment, they've beaten the odds time and again, they've done everything we've asked them to," Casey said.
…but no cigar there, either. The notion that it's time to declare victory and let our soldiers, who have indeed met their ever-changing job description in Iraq again and again, come home is neither new nor supportive of the Bush war plan.

In fact, there's never been any doubt that in a stand up fight, the combined forces of American infantry, armor, artillery and air support can prevail over insurgents equipped with small arms and booby traps every time. Sure, some of our troops will die, some will be maimed and none will be unaffected, but we can certainly win every battle (thought the odds, to be honest, are significantly stacked in our favor).

Of course, stand up fights are rare in a guerrilla war, and no one believes the real solutions can be found on the battlefield.

One Democrat seems to come nearer to the headline's promise. After being hypnotized briefed by General Petraeus, Rep. Jerry McNerney has decided to " a little more flexible about when troops should be brought home."

That's when, not if. Even McNerney remains committed to a timeline for withdrawal. I suppose "flexible" equals a Friedman or so of wiggle room on the schedule.

Don't let 'em grind you down.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dear Parliment...

...wish you were here.

Chad Shue has a postcard for the Iraq parliament, on vacation for a week now...
Over the last week, some 26 American troops have been killed in Iraq. The number of Iraqis killed (Iraqi deaths are estimates only as there is no reliable reporting agency for these figures) numbered between 350 and 600. Also this week, it was reported that the total number of American troops currently in Iraq is at an all time record high of 162,000.
Then there's the Iraqi cabinet, or lack thereof.

There's progress in Iraq, all right. Toward anarchy and interminable war.


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Don't let 'em grind you down.

Blackdogred is all stirred up over this LA Times headline...
Democrats happy to let Gonzales dangle
…and I admit the lede sounds pretty discouraging.
WASHINGTON — Democrats are not winning the battle to force Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales from office, stymied by a legal system that gives the Bush administration wide discretion to block investigations of itself. And they are not getting the White House witnesses or records they have demanded in recent weeks.

But many Democrats are fine with that.
Problem is, through the rest of the article Times staffers Peter Wallsten and Richard B. Schmitt don't produce "many" Democrats who actually say such a thing. They don't, in fact, produce any.

Sure, they've got former Congressman David Bonior, now consulting a Presidential campaign (yeah, my man John), who allows as how if the issue is on the table between now and the election, they'll use it. That's not the same thing as "fine with that," though.

They've got DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen, too, except he's not talking about Gonzales at all. Yep, he thinks the election should be about "change and accountability," but there's not an issue or an Executive Branch department that doesn't apply to.

The rest of what they've got is a description of Congressional Democrats' "increasing aggressiveness against Gonzales," including an impeachment resolution in the House and a perjury investigation in the Senate.

Doesn't sound like Democrats are happy to me.

Or even "fine with that."

I know the daily fight against journamalism is tough, but don't let 'em grind you down.

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I'm glad it worked out well for you.

Hillary, at the AFL-CIO forum...
"...for 15 years I have stood up against the right wing machine, and I have come out stronger. So if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I'm your girl."
Perhaps you've been invigorated by the struggle, Senator, and good on ya, but those 15 years were a pretty complete disaster for the rest of us. While you were doing battle, we lost the Congress, lost the White House and are on the brink of losing the Constitution.

But you won a Senate seat and you're "stronger."

Isn't that No, that isn't special.

Triangulation in pursuit of a shifting center has been a total failure for America. The turnaround started in '06 and it was progressive and populist and you didn't have a damn thing to do with it.

But you're stronger.



Since he asked…

PSoTD poses a blogroll challenge...
So I'm asking the bloggers below - those on the PSoTD blogroll - to post about this question this week:
Will Joe Lieberman support the Republican candidate for President in 2008, reasons why or why not, and what's the political value to him?
Depends. He might endorse Biden or Dodd, but let's face it, he won't have the chance. Obama campaigned with him and holds some chips that might keep Joe out of it altogether even if they don't buy an endorsement. Hillary? There'd be a lot of pressure on Joe from his pals at the DLC to come aboard, and again, if he doesn't, he might stay away.

Should my man John win the nomination, though, I suspect Joe would flee to the arms of whatever the Republicans come up with, and Edwards would more likely celebrate than resist the move.

He wouldn't endorse Richarson, either, but it would break the Governor's heart.

If Dennis gets the nod, Joe probably moves to Israel and washes his hands of the whole mess.

I'm not sure that any course of action has any political value to Lieberman, though, because if Democrats can pick up a single seat in the Senate, and I think it's reasonable to expect more than that, Joe Lieberman will become the least relevant figure in American politics.

Of course, as my pal Terry says, I could be wrong.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

First impression…

…of the AFL-CIO Presidential forum? Without Mike Gravel, Biden becomes the cranky old dude on stage.

No one wins these things. The winner is named - or, likely not - at the endorsement convention by folks whose support isn't readily earned with a soundbite. Still, it was entertaining and a chance to see Dennis Kucinich at his best with the encouragement of the kind of audience he's built his entire political career on impressing. When he says he'll have a "worker's White House," you believe he would, even though you know he never will.

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See, there's the rub.

Darryl writes at Hominid Views
Among Democrats, there are a wide variety of opinions about Clinton but, perhaps, the single most polarizing issue is NAFTA. The pro-labor Democrats will not forgive Big Dog for NAFTA. Other Democrats view globalization as an inevitable outcome of a more interconnected world.
Well, yeah, NAFTA's a problem. But it seems like "Other Democrats" is a bigger one. I can't remember much of anything but pro-labor Democrats before Bill Clinton. With varying degrees of devotion, sure, but the link between AFL-CIO COPE and the Democratic Party was recognized and respected by Democrats of every stripe, at every level.

Bill Clinton all but took labor out of the Democratic platform, and the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party has been fighting to put it back in every since.

That's what I haven’t forgiven him for.

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Anonymous Liberal...
The GOP has reached a point where no one in the party is even capable of discussing fiscal issues in a way that is remotely serious or reality-based.
Which brings to mind my continuing annoyance with Democrats who feed the beast with rhetoric like "fiscal conservative." There's nothing inherently illiberal about responsible stewardship of the public purse. Conflating conservatism with responsibility has done major damage to our Party and to the underlying political philosophy of our country. It's one of the primary reasons, I think, that so many people who believe in constitutional governance, a social safety net, social equality and a sound national defense - all fundamentals of contemporary liberalism - define themselves as 'conservatives.'

So all y'all Ds who play the 'social liberal, fiscal conservative' card? Knock it off. You're hurting the country.

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Sure, I try...

to maintain a 'family-friendly' blog, but sometimes you just have to call bullshit bullshit. Steve Benen has this from W. Thomas Smith Jr. at the National Review:
[T]he majority of the most vocal of the war critics have never even worn the uniform of our country. Yet some have even gone so far as to suggest that they have military backgrounds based on their holding seats on armed services committees.
I don't know who's made that suggestion, and it's a foolish one, but for the record, some of ours and some of theirs...

John Murtha: Colonel, USMC (ret), Bronze Star, 2 Purple Hearts
Al Gore: Army, Vietnam.
Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with V,Purple Hearts.
Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
Dick Cheney: did not serve.
Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
Trent Lott: did not serve.
John Ashcroft: did not serve.
Karl Rove: did not serve.
Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard commitment.
Oh yeah, let us not forget the granddaddy of Democratic peaceniks….

George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.

Bullshit, Mr. Smith.

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Lies, damn lies…

…and statistics.

GOP State Rep. Bob Allen has an intriguing explanation for his recent restroom romance, claiming that "the guy was big, and black and he thought he 'was about to be a statistic.'"

Not to worry, Rep. Allen, you dodged the statistical bullet.
Your search - "bi-racial fellatalists" - did not match any documents.
Nobody's collecting the numbers.


Welcome Eschatites!

Atrions? Whatever. Howdy, y'all. Look around, kick the tires, leave a note.

It's the second link from Duncan since I started this thing. One more miracle and I'm a blog saint, right?


Monday, August 06, 2007

Well, no.

The Washington Post doesn't "get it right" when they write that...
THE DEMOCRATIC-led Congress, more concerned with protecting its political backside than with safeguarding the privacy of American citizens, left town early yesterday after caving in to administration demands that it allow warrantless surveillance of the phone calls and e-mails of American citizens...
What happened was that the intransigent Republican minority, in league with a relative handful of conservative Democrats who broke with the Democratic leadership, continued to bow at the altar of Bushism without regard for the liberties of Americans.

The problem isn't, as the Post implies and too many "progressives" are too eager to echo, with Democratic leadership. It's with the Congress we've given them to lead.

Send more Democrats and better Democrats and any leadership problems will disappear.

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Fair trade?

John Edwards has a plan...
Be a Tough Negotiator, Unafraid to Reject Bad Deals

Insist on Benefits for Regular Families

Demand Strong Labor Laws

Eliminate Tax Incentives to Move Offshore
Jonathan Tasini has some details and analysis.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Good question.

Erin Alecto at The Left Coaster...
So what are you going to do about it?
Pretty good answers, too.

And if the FISA vote is your first disappointment, or you expect it to be your last, better cowboy up 'cause there's rocky roads ahead.

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Redefining the "A-list"…

My man John:
"I will hire a White House blogger, and her name will be Elizabeth Edwards."
Hat tip to Ezra.

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And now...


Saturday, August 04, 2007

They're number one!

WASHINGTON -- Afghanistan will produce another record poppy harvest this year that cements its status as the world's near-sole supplier of the heroin source, U.S. officials say.
What's up with that? I mean, aren't we supposed to own that country or something?

Heckuva job, Bushie.

And where's all the Iraqi hash?

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Random (adj.)…

Having no specific pattern or objective.
Ten times…
Muddy Waters - Close Your Eyes
Gogi Grant - The Wayward Wind
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Cathedral
Kaki King - Kewpie Station
Johnny Cash - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Warren Zevon - Ain't That Pretty At All
John Lennon - Imagine
Pink - I Got Money Now
David Allen Coe - Longhaired Redneck
Jewel Akens - Love Potion No. 9

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Really. LOL.


Friday, August 03, 2007


Steve Benen:
What’s so “perilous” about thinking that the president isn’t the sharpest crayon in the box? What’s Bush going to do, show up on Jeopardy and make us feel foolish for doubting him?


Just a few reasons…

…that we're better than they are.

Hat tip to Needlenose and a grateful nod to Oliver.

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Worth repeating.

John Patric at The Left Coaster:
John Edwards is different from Hillary Clinton. He doesn't take contributions from Rupert Murdoch, but she does.
Jerome has more, including this from my man John...
"The time has come for Democrats to stop pretending to be friends with the very people who demonize the Democratic Party."
A Democrat. Without apology.

Sic 'em, John!

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tommy, we hardly knew ye.

It's hard to describe how central The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem were to the cultural identity of a second generation Irish-American kid growing up in the 50s and 60s. I bought the records, learned the songs, coveted the sweaters and copied the brogue (it still slips out during my annual St. Patrick's Day set at the perfect tavern - mostly Clancy Bros. material now that I think of it).

It's trite but true to say that his music will live forever. More than that, there's that sense of cultural pride and connection that he and his comrades helped to inspire and sustain for me and I'd guess to millions like me. Grandpa wasn't around to sing the songs, and Dad didn't know the words, but Tommy and the Clancys were like jovial Irish uncles, always on hand to remind you about where you came from and why it mattered. They earned the affection of millions of 'nephews' and 'neices'.

Tommy Makem
"The Bard of Armagh"
1932 - 2007

I've a fine felt hat
And a strong pair of brogues
I have rosin in me pocket for me bow
My fiddle strings are new
And I've learned a tune or two
Now I'm well prepared to ramble and must go.

Ramble on, Tommy.

Hat tip to Thers.

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Progress report.

BAGHDAD - Baghdad shook with bombings and political upheaval Wednesday as the largest Sunni Arab bloc quit the government and a suicide attacker blew up his fuel tanker in one of several attacks that claimed 142 lives nationwide.
Let's see, the escalation was supposed to create a security environment that would allow the Iraqis to get their political affairs in order.

Uh huh.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Democratic candidate…

…for the Democratic nomination? That would be my man John.

So says Stephen Dick of the Anderson, Ind. Herald Bulletin...
John Edwards is the only Democratic presidential candidate who is talking like a Democrat. He talks about labor, health care and poverty, issues that have fallen well below the political radar for the last 30 years.
Issues that may win the heartland back for Democrats up and down the ballot, with the right message and leadership from the top of the ticket.

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From the "Majorities Matter" file...

WASHINGTON -- House Democrats pushed through legislation Wednesday to add 6 million lower-income children to a popular health insurance program while making deep cuts in federal payments to Medicare HMOs, defying a veto threat from President Bush.

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The Army has missed monthly recruiting goals back in 2005, and now again, in the past two months. Leaders remain confident, especially in Georgia, that annual goals will be met.
Why confident, you ask? Bribes Bonuses
The new $20,000 bonus goes to recruits willing to go to basic training before August 27. The older bonuses that can reach the $40,000 mark are based on the jobs the soldier chooses.
They're building a force of budget mercenaries, kids who'll trade life and limb for $20 grand.

I hate what they're doing to my Army.


More Credit Due…

…to the distinguished gentleman from Delaware. When O'Reilly tried to use the Senator's absence from YearlyKos as a club to slam Markos, the Biden camp offered a quick and complete rebuttal...
The simple truth is Joe Biden would be at YearlyKos if he could, but adding a book tour to all the demands of a campaign meant some things had to change. But we won't stand by and let Bill O'Reilly try to drive a wedge between the progressive online community and us to make a false point on behalf of his half-baked theories.

While not always agreeing with all members of the DailyKos community, Joe Biden respects what the YearlyKos convention -- a diverse assembly of activists and organizations -- represents as a vehicle for progressives to organize and advocate on behalf of democratic ideals and the Democratic Party.
Way to go, Joe!

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Steve Young:
You can always tell when the Republican Party believes something can hurt them. They attack it like you'd wish a Michael Vick pitbull would attack its owner.
This too...
And one big target in the Republican cross-hairs is John Edwards.

He's presently a third place longshot in the Democratic race, but there's strong evidence that the Republican Party may be more afeared of Edwards then they are of Obama or Clinton. They both may have bulls-eyes painted on them, but it is Edwards who has been under unrelenting assault.
Maybe knowing where all that Clinton/Obama money came from provides a measure of comfort to the Rs.

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Let’s get something straight here. The reason the Republicans are running from a YouTube debate has nothing to do with embarrassing themselves and everything to do with the horror that is the Republican base (see video above). Imagine a whole two hour debate composed entirely of questions from men lovingly cradling their assault rifles, matronly polyester-swathed frumps of much avoirdupois braying and squawking about abstinence-only education and the danger of Harry Potter in our schools, angry old men taking a break from standing on their porches shouting, “Get the hell out of my yard!” to stare Mike Gravel-like into the camera and demand to know what the candidates plan to do about “th’ dayumn Mexicans”.

It would be a bloodbath.
Ronnie sez "Bring it on."
If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with.

Ronald Reagan, April 7th, 1970
The 12th Commandment?

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Why this race isn't between Hillary and Edwards as opposed to Hillary and Obama has me stumped. I think Obama needs a lot more seasoning and experience before becoming presidential material.

Which leads me to conclude it's still a three-way race and Edwards is very much in it.
Me too.

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