Friday, February 29, 2008

If there was ever any doubt…

...AG Michael Mukasey made it official today. We have an outlaw administration that refuses to execute and enforce the instructions and statutes passed by the Congress. On the matter of Harriet Miers' and Josh Bolten's personal expression of contempt for the Congress (and the Constitution, and you), the Speaker is one step ahead of them...
“Anticipating this response from the Administration, the House has already provided authority for the Judiciary Committee to file a civil enforcement action in federal district court and the House shall do so promptly. The American people demand that we uphold the law. As public officials, we take an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect our system of checks and balances and our civil lawsuit seeks to do just that.”
Sic 'em, Madame Speaker.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Look! There in the sky!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a pig!!

Catholic League President Bill "I am the Catholic League" Donahue makes an apparently reasonable point, issuing a statement declaring that...
Hagee has written extensively in negative ways about the Catholic Church, "calling it 'The Great Whore,' an 'apostate church,' the 'anti-Christ,' and a 'false cult system.'"

"Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot. McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee."
There's a difference of course. The Farrakhan endorsement was unsolicited, undesired and unaccepted. McCain's embrace of TV preacher John Hagee was literal, appearing with him to announce his pride in the endorsement of a man well described in a comment at The Trail as...
"An apocalyptic millenarian whose support for Israel is part of a vision of destruction of Baghdad and Christ's return with all the Jews converting."
John McCain versus kids, Catholics and the planet.

What a day.

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Don't know much about history…

…don't care much about ecology.

The League of Conservation Voters wants you to know...
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) scored 0 percent in 2007 (24 percent lifetime) due to missing all 15 votes scored, including the key vote on repealing tax giveaways to big oil – a measure that failed by only one vote.
Not that he's all that much use when he's around…

Hat tip to Steve Zemke at Majority Rules.

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Good question…

…from Mr. Natural, naturally.
If there was a god, would it forgive us?

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What about The Children!®?

Via the Carpetbagger Report...
The Children’s Defense Fund Action Council released a new congressional scorecard, measuring lawmakers on their votes affecting children. While plenty of Republicans fared well — Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Gordon Smith (R-OR) received 70% rankings — John McCain received a 10% rating, the worst in the chamber. (His score was depressed by a series of missed votes.)
You can say his score is "depressed" by his missed votes, or you could say it accurately reflects his priorities. In John McCain's world, his personal ambitions are far more important than the health and well being of America's children.

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More of this, please.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday requested that a federal grand jury be appointed to investigate whether a top White House official and former official should be prosecuted for contempt of Congress.
Of course, it's a sad thing that this is the only way to get the Bushco™ 'Justice' Department to act, but they've been purged, trimmed and managed to into the virtual role of mob lawyers for the criminal enterprises of the administration.

Sic 'em, Madam Speaker.

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Any takers?

My blog is worth $38,388.72.

How much is your blog worth?

Hey, it's yours for a cool $20k


"You can put a shoe in the oven…

...but that doesn't make it a biscuit."

Malcolm X

"I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It’s called ‘al-Qaida in Iraq.’”

John McCain
As Professor Cole explains (my emphasis)...
The technical definition of al-Qaeda is operatives who have sworn fealty to Usama bin Laden. There were only a few hundred of them. I doubt whether more than a handful of such individuals are in Iraq.

So there isn't any "al-Qaeda" in Iraq in the technical sense. There are "Excommunicating Holy Warriors" (Takfiri Jihadis), i.e. devotees of political Islam who are violent and willing to deploy terror for political purposes. They declare other Muslims who disagree with them "not Muslims,"-- thus the "excommunicating" bit. But there are only a few hundred foreign fighters. A small minority of Iraqis has associated with them. They don't call themselves 'al-Qaeda in Iraq.' The major such group is "The Islamic State of Iraq." And to say that they have "bases" in Iraq is pretty grandiose. They have some safe houses and try to take and hold neighborhoods, so far with indifferent success.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Remember this?

“Anyone who worries about how long we’re in Iraq does not understand the military and does not understand war."
Among the ignorant in McCain's world...

“…the cumulative effects of the last six- plus years at war have left our Army out of balance, consumed by the current fight and unable to do the things we know we need to do to properly sustain our all-volunteer force and restore our flexibility for an uncertain future.” Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey [2/26/08]

“We are a nation long at war, facing an era of persistent conflict. Our soldiers and families are stretched. We are an Army out of balance. And we are consuming our readiness as fast as we build it.” Secretary of the Army Pete Geren [2/26/08]

“We must reduce deployment lengths from 15 months, increase time spent at home-station between deployments, and provide predictability across all components, if we are to relieve the considerable stress placed on our Army, our soldiers, and our Army families.” Lt. General Michael Rochelle, Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G1 [2/26/08]
Hat tip to The Gavel.

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No tears here.

Well, maybe a few for the sad spectacle of the hagiographies issuing from so many progressive voices on the occasion of William F. Buckley's death. Jane Hamsher, for instance, "hazily" remembers the fabled Buckley-Vidal debate of '68 as "charged and relevant." It might have seemed so to a 9 year old, but I was 17 and anticipating the draft or enlistment during a shooting war, so I was paying pretty close attention. It's not by accident that the most memorable exchange of two of the most putatively erudite commentators of their generation were ad hominem attacks. While "Nazi" and "queer" were certainly "charged" enough, their relevance, or their relative superiority to contemporary discourse, eludes me. (Not that Buckley couldn't change with the times. By 1985 his judgment of Vidal had made the shift from "queer" to "fag.")

Ad hominem arguments, of course, were standard practice for Buckley. Even his "friend," Rick Perlstein, admits that "...William F. Buckley said and did many things over the course of his career that were disgusting." Still, Perlstein submits, "He was a good and decent man." This, of course, begs the question of just how many disgusting things one may say and do as a matter of vocation without eroding one's decency. The answer, I suspect, is somewhat less than the total to which Buckley is entitled.

(Perlstein's friendship with Buckley began when "I sat with him for a good half hour in National Review's offices on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, " writes Perlstein "and he answered every damned question I asked, in searching detail, and then answered a few I hadn't even asked." This, of course, gives rise to the question of just how many questions can be answered in "searching detail" in thirty minutes, no matter how gracious the interviewee might prove to be.)

Jesse Wendel makes a fair point...
No matter how strongly anyone believes their beliefs to be "the truth," any hope for true change, for genuine reconciliation between red and blue America, does not start with attacking the memory of a man who has just died.
He takes a step too far, though, when he invokes the memory of Steve Gilliard in defense of Buckley...
With the exception of the Freepers and a few genuinely disgusting people, friends and enemies alike came together to acknowledge Steve Gilliard as a liberal lion. Let people be as unstinting in their praise of William Buckley as people were in their praise of Steven Gilliard.
I'm sorry, but I'm simply unaware of Steve Gilliard writing in defense off, for instance, white racial supremacy, political witch hunts or sundry fascist regimes. On those points alone, the comparison simply fails. On this...
I didn't agree with William F. Buckley's politics, but I admired his spirit. He was a genuine conservative, a person unafraid to disagree with you politically, without needing to attack you personally, threaten your family, or resort to name-calling or insults.
Well, Jesse's simply wrong. Personal attacks, name-calling and insults - delivered, admittedly, with a certain personal flair and an expansive vocabulary - were among the primary tools of Buckley's trade.

William F. Buckley was a racist, a tireless class warrior on behalf of entrenched wealth and, if not a "crypto Nazi," as Vidal claimed, a man with a soft spot for the kind of right wing militarism typically thought of as fascist.

Those are not the qualities of a good and decent man, and I shed not a tear at his passing.


Quote of the day.

Senator Obama...
"John McCain may like to say he wants to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but so far all he’s done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq."
Sic 'im, Barry.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Here we go again.

His colleagues wouldn't give him that desperately desired Appropriations Committee assignment, but the Preznit's sending his wife to help out. Seems Brand W™ Dave Reichert's still a favorite in the White House. Well, Dave's got his friends, and Darcy's got hers. He turns to his, and she's turning to hers...
Let's show the Bushes once again that we're not sitting by idly while they have their big money private fundraisers. The Burn Bush for Burner netroots drive is on once again. Our goal is the same as last time: to send a message to Reichert, Bush and other Republicans that would seek to go up against netroots candidates that there are more of us than there are of them!
You can chip in right here.

Hat tip to Daniel at On The Road To 2008.

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Me too.

Citing a USA Today poll showing that Democrats expect Obama to be the nominee, regardless of their preferences, PSOTD responds...
I get the sense that we're now in the final countdown - and that next Tuesday will become the end of the race. I think this survey suggests that a majority of voters actually WANT that to be the case - that they are ready for a break from the harsh heat of this primary season, and are ready for different distractions than primary politics for the near term. I think this would be the case regardless of who was leading at this point, and will work strongly against Hillary Clinton next week.
Me too.

Only a strong performance by Obama can bring this thing to an end on Wednesday. If he wins Texas and finishes within, say, 5% in Ohio, with a few CD wins to boost his delegate count, there'll be a landslide of endorsements from labor, PLEOs, Clinton staffers will close the oppo files and start working on resumes. The Obama-McCain race will be underway.

Should Clinton win Texas and Ohio, or lose Texas and win Ohio commandingly, well, if you like what we're getting out of the campaigns now, you're gonna love Pennsylvania.

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My other first choice…

…joins the Barack bandwagon. Senator Dodd…
I'm deeply proud to be the first 2008 Democratic presidential candidate to endorse Barack Obama. He is ready to be President. And I am ready to support him - to work with him and for him and help elect him our 44th President.

Put simply, I believe Barack Obama is uniquely qualified to help us face this housing crisis, create good jobs, strengthen America's families in this 21st century global economy, unite the world against terrorism and end the war in Iraq - and perhaps most importantly, call the American people to shared service and sacrifice. In this campaign, he has drawn millions of voters into politics for the first time in their lives and shown us that we are united by so much more than that which divides us.
Hat tip to Blue Texan at Firedoglake.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Was that a pig…

…that just flew by? I ask because, well, I think Dick Morris has a good point…
The best evidence of Obama’s readiness to lead the nation is the ability with which he has run for president. After all, what is more difficult, complicated or challenging than getting elected president? What other life experience better illustrates one’s qualification to hold the office than a manifest skill in seeking it?
Stopped clocks, etc...

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You don't have to call him…

…He Who Shall Not Be Named. You can call him "...Lyndon LaRouche for Tim Robbins fans."


Hat tip to Gordon.

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Since you asked.

USA Today headline
Will any candidate be ready on Day One?
Since you asked, no.

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"I think anybody has the right to vote for president if they file sufficent papers," Obama said. "And I think the job of the Democratic Party is to be so compelling that a few percentage of the vote going to another candidate's not going to make any difference."
He went on to be far more gracious to He Who Shall Not Be Named than I'm inclined to be.

But the stuff about the Party's job?


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Sunday, February 24, 2008

And now...


Saturday, February 23, 2008

The year: 1966

The President: Lyndon Johnson

The Congress: Democratic

The achievements:
Food For India
Child Nutrition
Department of Transportation
Truth in Packaging
Model Cities
Rent Supplements
Teacher Corps
Asian Development Bank
Clean Rivers
Food for Freedom
Child Safety
Narcotics Rehabilitation
Traffic Safety
Highway Safety
Mine Safety
Bail Reform
Tire Safety
New GI Bill
Minimum Wage Increase
Urban Mass Transit
Civil Procedure Reform
Federal Highway Aid
Military Medicare
Public Health Reorganization
Cape Lookout Seashore
Guadalupe National Park
Fish and Wildlife Preservation
Anti-Inflation Program
Scientific Knowledge Exchange
Cultural Materials Exchange
Foreign Investors Tax
Parcel Post Reform
Civil Service Pay Raise
Stockpile Sales
Protection for Savings
Flexible Interest Rates
Freedom of Information Act.

Tune time.

Donna The Buffalo - Finally Friday
Billie Holiday - One For My Baby
Jefferson Airplane - Today
Dexter Gordon - Long Tall Dexter
Nina Simone - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Billy Bragg - The Price Of Oil
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Honky Tonkin'
Carrie Newcomer - Silver
Bobby Darin - Dream Lover
John Pizzarelli - It's Only A Paper Moon

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Regarding the impending threat…

…to all that we Democrats hold dear.

Never mind
The Democratic superdelegates are starting to follow the voters — straight to Barack Obama.

In just the past two weeks, more than two dozen of them have climbed aboard his presidential campaign, according to a survey by The Associated Press. At the same time, Hillary Rodham Clinton's are beginning to jump ship, abandoning her for Obama or deciding they now are undecided.
So, the elite cabal of people we've elected to represent us are executing a diabolical plot to behave representatively.

Jeebus, all those electrons wasted.

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Honesty about Abe....

...from Jolly Roger.
Abe Lincoln had more supporters in Atlanta than Chimpy has in America.

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More great achievements…

…by a great Democratic President.

Of course, there was Medicare, but that just scratched the surface of the Johnson administration's commitment to the health of Americans. There was a new federal emphasis on research into cancer, strokes and heart disease. There was the Mental Health Facilities Act and new medical libraries. There was a Child Health Act and new Community Health clinics. New Clean Air and Clean Water acts had health as well as general environmental impacts.

There was more. The Creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development was match with new funding for public housing and the Fair Housing Act.

The military got its share of attention, with a GI pay raise and a new life insurance program for soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

Support for education, including higher education, was expanded. Farmers got relief from the boom and bust cycle of harvest with a four year farm support system. Cities got more help for high speed transit. While others would claim the 'lawnorder' mantle, it was President Johnson and a Democratic Congress that offered Law Enforcement Assistance, the National Crime Commission and the Juvenile Delinquency Act.

Public lands got another boost with the creation of the Assateague National Seashore and the Whiskeytown National Recreational Area, and the trip to see them was enhanced by the Highway Beauty Act (God bless Ladybird).

There was the Voting Rights Act, too, and a Social Security increase, and the Fair Immigration Law. Internationally, there were new initiatives in arms control and a strengthening of the United Nations Charter.

Some career, huh?

Not really. That was just 1965.


Thursday, February 21, 2008


Sorry, but thanks for playing. Senator Obama, right here on my TV…
My number one job, if I am elected president, will be to keep the American people safe.
Actually, I don't want to personalize it too much. Just because I haven't heard Clinton enunciate this particular bit of eerily Bushian presidential philosophy doesn't mean she hasn't said it, or wouldn't agree. In fact, a lot of America was probably nodding along with Barack.

But it's not true. It should not be true. It must not be true.

The number one job of the President of the United States is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States - that is, to keep the American people free.

Safety is elusive, perhaps impossible, but the attempt to insure it is invariably at the expense of liberty, and the price of liberty is too dear to spend freely.

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As promised…

…some notes on LBJ, and why I consider him the greatest President of my lifetime (I date back to HST). My measure is achievement, positive achievements for the American people. Let's take a look.

On the environmental front, there was a Clean Air act and pesticide controls. He expanded our public lands, signing bills that created the Compobello International Park, Medicine Bow National Forest, the Ozark Scenic Riverway, Fort Bowie Historic Site, the Fire Island National Seashore and increased the land designated as wilderness.

Seeing education as the key to lifting Americans from poverty to the middle class, he signed the Vocational Education Act, the Indian Vocational Education Act and the Manpower Training Act. He increased federal support for nurse's training, college facilities and library services.

New programs were introduced to support American farmers. Some, like the Food Stamp Act, carried a double impact as part of the War On Poverty that was initiated. Cities were given new support for highways, affordable housing and urban mass transit.

There was of course, the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Did I mention the tax cut?

Compare this record to the loftiest ambitions of politicians since. Understand - this isn't what Lyndon Johnson achieved during his presidency. This is what Lyndon Johnson achieved before he was inaugurated for his own full term.

More to come...


Times do change...

"It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information."

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Thanks to modern media advancements, the shortage has been eliminated.

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…+ 5 =



Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Huge, maybe.
Sources: Teamsters to endorse Obama
Teamsters, SEIU, UNITE-HERE, UFCW, Ohio, Pennsylvania…

Looks like this thing's starting to get done.

And the Boilermakers, too.

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jnfr does the math…

…so we don't have to. Yesterday's turnout...
Total Dem Votes

Total Rep Votes
Yay for our side!

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More than a feeling.

A "true-blue Clinton loyalist"…
“When nothing you do is working, you get desperate. This is starting to feel desperate.”
Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.



Keith at NPI…
[E]verybody with a pair of nostrils is hyperanalyzing every scrap of gristle that comes out of either campaign (Republican or Democrat), and we all should take a deep breath and let voters, well, VOTE.
Um, make that "Democratic."

But yep.

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From the "Those who forget history" file.

Jay Stevens quotes Krugman on the potential for an Obama backlash. Krugman concludes…
I hope I'm just a cynical baby boomer who has never really trusted any politician since 1968. But I just have a very bad feeling about the way things are going. which Jay resonds…
Get it? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge! 1968! That's the year of...hold on, here...George McGovern!
Except, of course, it isn't. Well, kind of, I suppose. McGovern did try to rally some RFK delegates at the convention, but after the tragedy in California, the fight was between McCarthy and Humphrey, and Humphrey won. George McGovern was a footnote in the '68 race. Jay's right. If 1968 is the topical year...
...the McGovern analogy is ridiculously wrong.
…but not for the reason he thinks.

Senator McGovern, by the way, deserves better from the left bank of blogtopia than the dissemination of the old Republican canard that his nomination represented a radical shift to the left and that his defeat was the inevitable result. 1972 was a lot more complicated than that.

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From the "I resemble that remark" file.

Via Jeff Fecke


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From the "Learn something every day" file.

Contrary to people's imaginations lately, Bill and Hillary Clinton aren't actually soulless zombies committed to destroying everything in their wake.
Who'da thunk?

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Here at home...

...via The Gavel.
The President’s Budget Would Cut Critical Programs for Washington.

The budget:

§ Cuts $195 billion nationally over five years for Medicare and Medicaid, threatening to endanger Washington’s 797,000 Medicare and 851,000 Medicaid patients' access to the care they need

§ Cuts federal funding to build, rehabilitate, and improve Washington’s roads and bridges by $10.5 million

§ Cuts Washington’s Improving Teacher Quality grant by $2.1 million, leading to 9,212 fewer children with highly qualified teachers
Of course, it's even worse than that.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Looks great for 50, huh?

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Seattle's voice of summer, Dave Niehaus, is headed for Cooperstown.

I fell in love with baseball on the radio listening to Vin Scully in LA. When I moved home 25 years ago, I hardly hoped to find a broadcaster as skilled, knowledgable and entertaining as Scully waiting for me. Heck, when I left home, we were still a PCL town. Little did I know.

I don't know how many times I've sat in the car, waiting on Niehaus' next call, when I could have stepped inside and watched the game on TV. Sometimes you can see more when he tells it than when you see it. It's that kind of magic that makes a Hall of Famer.

9 days 'til the Cactus League opener in Peoria.

Yay Dave! Go M's!

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Still crazy..

…after all these years. Via Dr. Streak...
Curry: You don’t agree with that? It has nothing do with the economy, the war, the spending on the war?

Bush: I don’t think so. I think actually the spending in the war might help with jobs.

Curry: Oh, yeah?

Bush: Yeah, because we’re buying equipment, and people are working. I think this economy is down because we built too many houses (Curry: hmmmmm) and the economy is adjusting...

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Today's fun facts…

…via Steve M..
Number of Google hits for "obama socialist": 415,000.
Number of Google hits for "clinton socialist": 489,000.

Number of Google hits for "obama communist": 439,000.
Number of Google hits for "clinton communist": 517,000.
The attacks will be ceaseless, baseless and indiscriminate. No one is invulnerable.

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Anything not forbidden…

…comes at least highly recommended by Chris Bowers, it seems. He catalogues some non-violations at Open Left
· It is not against the rules for superdelegates to vote, en masse, for the candidate who wins the popular vote across all primaries and caucuses, no matter how those superdelegates choose to define the "popular vote." It just isn't.
Indeed, it is not.
· It is not against the rules for superdelegates to vote, en masse, for a candidate who did not win the popular vote, no matter how those superdelegates choose to define "popular vote." It really ain't.
Nor is that.

It is, however, against the rules to require the PLEOs, or any other delegate, to vote en masse if that entails bloc voting, which is against the rules. The same rule forbids requiring a delegate, PLEO or otherwise, from being required to vote for the majority or plurality choice of his delegation. If there were such an en masse vote, it would have to be the product of coincidence of conviction. You just can't get to "superdelegates must" with this line of argument.
· If superdelegates want to vote for the candidate that gave them the most money, they can do that too. No rule prevents this.
That's true, I suppose. On the other hand, both the delegate's vote and the contributions the delegate receives are matters of public record. It's not against the rules, but the delegate better have an explanation ready. Of course, a candidate's closest political allies, ust those who you'd expect to find on an endorsment list, are the most likely to receive contributions from the candidate. If you think your Congressman, Governor or Senator has sold their vote for a maximum contribution - a few paltry thousand dollars at most - that's another problem altogether.
· It is not against the rules for the DNC credentials committee to seat the delegations sent by the Michigan and Florida Democratic parties, no matter what sort of delegation those parties send. Come June, the committee will have authority in this matter, and they can seat whatever delegation they see fit to seat.
Actually, it is. First, the initials DNC are about to get confusing. Democratic National Committee or Democratic National Convention? For now, I'll reserve DNC for the committee, and spell out the Convention when that's what I mean.

But this? It's against the rules. More below...
· It is not against the rules for the DNC credentials committee to refuse any delegate from Michigan and Florida no matter who those delegates are and no matter how those delegates were chosen. Those two states could hold new primaries that feature 100% turnout, not a single spoiled or provisional ballot, six months of non-stop campaigning by twelve candidates, and $200 million spent from each candidate. Even then, the credentials committee could still tell the Michigan and Florida delegations to stick it where the sun don't shine. That would not be against any rule.
Again, yes it is against the rules, and so is this...
· If the DNC credentials committee wants to seat Michigan but not Florida, or Florida but not Michigan, they can do that, too. Hell, the committee can choose to not seat California if enough members agreed.
I'll assume, for the sake of clarity, that Chris is using DNC to represent the Convention, because the Convention committees are being formed as a subset of the delegate selection process. When the Convention committee meets in the weeks leading up to Denver, they may consider and ultimately recommend any of the scenarios he describes. Even if a proposal can't gain the committee's recommendation, it may come to the floor of the Convention as a minority report. The delegates assembled will have the opportunity to vote both the recommendations and the minority reports issued by the committee up or down, or amend them on the floor and create a new model designed by the Convention itself.

In other words, the credentials committee can't seat anyone, or refuse to seat anyone. Likewise, the rules and platform committees are, ultimately, empowered only to recommend and are subject to the will of the Convention.

It's Democratic Party 101. The Convention is the final authority on all matters concerning both the Democratic Party and its own procedures. There is no committee or cabal in charge. Which is why, this, too, is true...
· If pledged delegates don't want to vote for the candidate they were elected to support, that is their business. Even "pledged" delegates are not bound to vote for the candidate they were elected to vote. Seriously
Deadly seriously. No one has the authority to tell force any delegate to do vote any way on any question. The right of each delegate, however selected, to hold their own vote and cast it according to their own conscience, with the right to be individually polled on every proposition put to the Convention, is absolute. It's a basic democratic, and Democratic, principle.

And, oh yeah, there's no such thing as "super" delegates. One delegate, one vote. Freely cast.

Until the delegates assembled in convention change 'em, them's the rules.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

I've got spirit yes I do…

Via Stuart O'Neill at The Democratic Daily...

Yay for our side!

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Blue Gal...
There are people in this country who think their vote on American Idol counts more than their vote for President. It takes pizazz to get them out of the farking drive-through and off their stoopid Ipods long enough to cast a goddamn ballot. If they need to feel good for all the wrong reasons to vote for a Democrat, even a dishwater Democrat (yeah, I said it), then go with God and onward, activists.
Yep, by any means necessary.

OK, not "any."

Not yet.

But yep.

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Fancy that.

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein in the New York Times...
... superdelegates, sensitive to the implications of internecine battles, are more likely to try to transcend emotions to find a reasonable outcome that enhances the party’s chances of winning an election. The superdelegates do not unite to block the candidate with the strongest support from voters; they have always cast a majority of their votes for the candidate who won a majority or plurality of votes in the primaries.
So the most active of the party activists, and those with the most at stake in Democratic ballot success, are likely to, as they have before, do the best thing for the Party, which which has invariably been to reflect the will of the various electorates via their various processes.

The PLEO crisis is artificial. A con. As in concocted.

There is no problem, and despite media hysteria and campaign spin, there's no reason to expect a problem to develop. Why do you imagine that most of the PLEOs continue to occupy the 'undecided' column? There are only two choices, after all. What are they waiting for?


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And now...'s time to turn from the lessons of William Jennings Bryan to those of another representative of the populist tradition in the Democratic Party, though he's not often thought of in those terms these days.

From his time as a country schoolteacher through his political career as a staffer, Congressman, Senator and Presienent of these United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson was called many things. I've always called him the greatest Democratic President of my lifetime (and, thus, the greatest President of my lifetime, period), the ugly war he inherited and foolishly expanded notwithstanding. He always called himself a populist.

This week I'll be listing some of the reasons I hold him in such esteem. Meanwhile, we'll kick off our series of Lessons From Lyndon with this still timely statement, issued in response to the nomination of John Kennedy in 1960...
"Now let our party unite behind our candidate - let us sweep the country this November, so that in January Democratic leadership may be restored to America in what promise to be the most challenging and difficult days in our history."

Lyndon Baines Johnson,

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Saturday, February 16, 2008


If the Clinton campaign really cares about seating the Michigan and Florida delegations, its officials need to drop the charade that they only care about not disenfranchising the voters and pressure the Democratic leadership in Michigan and Florida to conduct DNC-sanctioned primaries or caucuses.

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Since we're up…

…let's talk tunes. Another random ten:
Pancho Sanchez - Well, You Needn't
Chicago Blues Angels - Good Time Charlie
Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting
Babs Gonzales - The Boss Is Back (Ornithology)
Cocoa Tea & Cutty Ranks - Waiting In Vain
Chucho Valdes - To Bud Powell
Mary Karlzen - Anywhere Is Better Than Here
Don McLean & The Jordanaires - My Saddle Pal & I
Jefferson Airplane - Today
Bill Evans Trio - When I Fall In Love
Now that's what I call a super delegation of sounds.

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Keith at NPI (my emphasis)…
But superdelegates are appointed by dubious means: Favors, recognition, deals—the stuff of politics, the stuff of gambling, the stuff of cronyism. This is not how the system should work, and it should be exposed for what it is: Oligarchy. Power in the hands of a privileged few.
These are the PLEO delegates who will represent Keith and I at the Democratic National Convention.
Rep. Brian Baird
Sen. Maria Cantwell
Democratic National Committee member Ed Cote
Rep. Norm Dicks
Former House Speaker Tom Foley
Gov. Christine Gregoire
Rep. Jay Inslee
Rep. Rick Larsen
State party Vice Chairwoman Eileen Macoll
Democratic National Committee member Sharon Mast
Rep. Jim McDermott
Democratic National Committee member David McDonald
Sen. Patty Murray
Democratic National Committee member Pat Notter
State party Chairman Dwight Pelz
King County Executive Ron Sims
Rep. Adam Smith
"Favors"? Since every one of these delegates, save Speaker Foley, gain their credentials by virtue of the office they've been elected to, either in a public or Party election, it's fair to say no favor was involved, except the favor of the voters they've been appointed by ballot to represent. You could fairly argue that that's exactly how the system should work, if the system in place is, as it happens to be, representative democracy. (Of course, right now I'm sure a few folks on that list don't really consider their status a "favor" in any sense.)

"Recognition"? There's a case to be made, here, I suppose, that the reason the rules recognize these particular Democrats is in recognition of their dedication and contribution to the Party, and/or their personal (and for these persons, that, of course, includes the political) stake in the ultimate composition of the ticket. It's just that I can't see any problem with insuring that the convention, the presiding authority of the Democratic Party, includes, by design, a body of delegates who are dedicated Party activists and have a personal stake in Democratic success at the polls. Just seems to me you'd want some of those folks around. Of course, the real recognition isn't the PLEO delegate credential, but the election that brings that credential as an additional responsibility. These are people we have already chosen to represent us. This is just one of the ways they do that.

"Deals…politics…gambling…cronyism"? You can't cut a "deal" to get PLEO credentials - you have to be elected. That, of course, is politics, but I don't see why the word "politics" is included in such a litany of disrepute. If we can't learn to accept politics as an honorable endeavor, I don't know why we would expect to enlist honorable politicians. Happily, it is and most are. I suppose gambling and cronyism are tossed in just to be sure the well has been sufficiently poisoned, since neither is relevant to the selection of PLEOs.

And "oligarchy"? Please.

There are over four thousand delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Some are selected in caucuses, some in primaries. Some are elected directly, some through a convention process. Some are pledged, some may be uncommitted. Fewer than 800 of them are Party Leaders and Elected Officials, the overwhelming majority of whom won their place on the convention floor by election to an office outlined in the rules. They have no power at all, even if by some miraculous intervention they were persuaded to vote as a bloc, without the assistance of an even greater number of delegates selected through the various processes designed by the states. Some oligarchy.

It's time to put an end to this made-up controversy, largely concocted by concern trolls in the mainstream media, about delegates with a made-up title. They're not "super." They carry one vote per. They, like every other delegate on the floor, get to decide which candidate merits their vote. They differ from others largely in the amount of sweat equity they've put into building the Party and the stake they have in its success. Look at the list again. They are people many of us have voted for. People many of us have worked beside. People we rely on to do the right thing on one question after another, year in and year out. We can rely on them in Denver, too.

At the very least, we can spare them the slanderous notion that they come by their credentials via the backroom dealings of a pack of cronies.

The cronies is us.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Quote of the day.

"It's not a matter of how long we're in Iraq, it's if we succeed or not."

John McCain.
Snagged from Blue Texan, who notes...
What's missing here, of course, is St. McCain never says precisely what "success" means, what an acceptable price to pay for that "success" is, and at what point does the price we've paid to date make "success" by any measure impossible.

Unfortunately for St. McCain, the rest of America has already made up its mind on the matter.
Like I always ask sometimes, what's "victory" look like?

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Worth repeating.

Funny, we didn't waterboard the Nazis, we didn't waterboard the Japanese militarists, the Italian Fascists. We didn't waterboard the North Koreans or the Red Chinese. We didn't waterboard Soviet defectors, or the occasional captured Russian pilot. We didn't waterboard suspected Eastern European spies.

And yet somehow we survived -- and even prevailed.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

So Hillary catches a caucus win... a small state.

Don't suppose she'll throw it back while she angles for a another one. Funny how they look bigger out of the water, isn't it?

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Mr. Lonely?

During his US Senate run against Slade Gorton, I asked the late Brock Adams why he seemed so confident about his chances against all the advantages of incumbency. "Shaun," he told me "I'm going to beat him because even his friends don't like him." I imagine Dave Reichert knows just how that feels. Via Goldy...
A hotly contested Republican seat on the House Appropriations Committee will go to Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama, rebuffing a desperate plea from a cash-starved Rep. Dave Reichert that “I need a seat now.”
What he needs is a career counselor.

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More of this.

I, for one, do not intend to back down – not to the terrorists and not to anyone, including a President, who wants Americans to cower in fear.

We are a strong nation. We cannot allow ourselves to be scared into suspending the Constitution. If we do that, we might as well call the terrorists and tell them that they have won.

Chairman Silvestre Reyes, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

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Me neither.

"I’m not in a very trusting mood these days.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

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I guess the reason…

…the Clintons have such a piss-poor caucus record is they really don't know anything about them. The Big Dog...
"The caucuses aren't good for her. They disproportionately favor upper-income voters who, who, don't really need a president but feel like they need a change."
Actually, they favor the folks who live in the neighborhood. Upper-income voters are scarce in my precinct, and plentiful in others, I suppose, but the concentration of delegates is based on Democratic ballot performance, and that tends to proportionately disfavor upper-income neighborhoods most everywhere.

What I still don't get is why their entire campaign operation chooses to be willfully ignorant of the process and possibilities of the caucus system despite getting their butts whipped over and over again. Caucus organizing is different from primary organizing, and it's hard work, but it's not all that hard to figure out.

And we all need a president. And a change.

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Another brother gone.

Via Fixer, I learn we've lost Lurch. I don't know how, or why. It doesn't matter. Another brother, one of the strongest voices for vets in blogtopia, is gone.

RIP, Bro. You did your time in Hell.

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This whole thing would be more pleasant…

…if not a whole lot easier if Clinton would just dump Penn and Wolfson.

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I can no longer be shocked…

…I'm afraid, by Republican behavior of any kind. I can still be disgusted, though.

Via John Aravosis...
House GOP members are disrupting proceedings in the House today, calling for "protest votes" and the like that eat up 15 minutes of the day at a time. Well, they just called one such protest vote in the middle of recently-deceased Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos' memorial service...
No more crocodile tears for Tom Lantos from those despicable bastards. Another reason…

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You can tell...

...he's not part of the new Clinton lineup.
"I would simply be uncomfortable being in a campaign that would be inevitably attacking Barack Obama,"

McCain adviser Mark McKinnon

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This day in history.

1635 Boston Latin School, the oldest public school in the United States, was founded.

1866 The gang that included Jesse James and Cole Younger committed their first bank robbery in Liberty, Mo.

1867 Johann Strauss's Blue Danube waltz premiered in Vienna.

1988 The most brilliant and beautiful woman I've ever known became my bride, and, remarkably, she's still here, at my side in every endeavor, in my arms at every opportunity. Happy anniversary, sweetie.

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Worth repeating.

Donnie Fowler...
Sometimes, paranoia doesn't mean they are actually out to get you.

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Jake Tapper, via Kagro X...
[I]n the 110th Congress, out of 450 votes, McCain missed 56.7% of them. The only one who missed more was a senator who had a brain hemmorhage.
Twisted enough to be sick or true enough to be funny?

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Shorter Bush.

Dear world...
Unlike most of you, we haven't made any progress for sixty years.

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Will Durst...
The Republicans are left with a candidate who believes that dinosaurs lived at the same time as men, and another who can personally refute that since he was there.

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…is this what "winning" looks like?
After months of declining violence, February is certain to be the third straight month to see increases in the numbers of Baghdad residents killed in car bombings and suicide attacks.

According to statistics kept by McClatchy, the low point in such killings came in November, when 76 people died. Thanks to a pair of pet market bombings that killed 99 people Feb. 1, February's tally already is 131.
Or is it this...


And would someone remind me just what is it we're supposed to win, anyway?

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Actually, you can…

"You can't come in smugly and with great self satisfaction and say 'Oh it's torture, and therefore it's no good'"

'Justice' Scalia
Of course you can. If it's torture, it's no good. There. Scalia actually spots the problem while missing the solution. Once you accept the proposition that torture, in some case, for some reason, might be acceptable, you're...
"…into a different game.

"How close does the threat have to be? And how severe can the infliction of pain be?"
Exactly. Because, really, who's to say?

Which why you not on can, but must, say that if it's torture, it's therefore no good.

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From the "Better Democrats" file.

Donna Edwards wins in MD-04

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"The Obama wave is unlike anything I have seen during my career. It would have totally swamped any traditional candidate," said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducts The Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls with Democratic pollster Peter Hart. "The fact that Clinton is still standing and breaking even is actually a remarkable statement about how unique a candidate she is and what an exceptionally strong candidate."
"Breaking even" isn't quite what's happening the last few days, though.

Something's happening here, and it's getting clearer day by day.

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Anyone who says…

“Anyone who worries about how long we’re in Iraq does not understand the military and does not understand war."
…does not understand the military and does not understand war.

Hat tip to firedoglake.

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Mixed reviews…

…from those "in Seattle" fellas. N says I'm a "man of honor" for my caucus day nod to Hillary, while Howie finds me "out as a Clintonista" and beyond redemption.

I'd like to think N is right, of course, for reasons above and beyond my caucus day decision. While I'm not, in fact, a "Clintonista," Howie's right about the uselessness of trying to bring me to "see the light." I'm not an Obamanite, either, and unlikely to become one before the ticket is determined.

I have enough reservations about either of our remaining candidates to have prevented them from being my first choice, and those reservations are, by and large, unresolved. On the other hand, none of my reservations are enough to be obstacles to supporting a ticket led by either Democrat against any Republican. So, I'm not a Clinton Democrat. I'm not an Obama Democrat.

Nope, I'm just a Democrat. Well, more than "just." Over the last four decades, I've been a Democratic officer, candidate, consultant, volunteer and staffer. I've "seen the light" enough times to know that there is no "the light," just the current version, and it looks different from every angle. For Howie, it's Barack this year. For me, it was Edwards. For nearly a third of the attendees at my record-breaking precinct caucus this year, it's Hillary Clinton. If there was any honor in my actions that day, it was on their behalf.

As the Precinct Committee Officer, I had the opportunity to watch the sign in sheets, and as the certified old caucus hand on site (this was my 7th) I had the rules and math pretty well figured out. I knew it was fully possible, given the size of the turnout, that a fairly substantial group of folks could leave unrepresented. Obama was clearly, from the first sheet to the last, winning the precinct, and winning substantially. No help needed there, so, in order to see that the minority view was represented in the results, I gave the help I could.

I did it because those folks that might have gone unrepresented are my neighbors, neighbors who were willing to set around and elementary school cafeteria table for a couple hours on a Saturday. I did it because they're my constituents and I'll be asking for their vote again this year. (The Obama folks, too, are my constituents, but they seemed pretty delighted with three out of four delegates.) I did it because the job of getting out the vote in November is easier without disappointed Democrats in February. I did it because, well, it just seemed fair. (Full disclosure: all that and the fact that the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left had been whispering sweet "I think it's Hillary"s in my ear for a couple weeks. Not that I agree, but...)

In other words, my decision that day was influenced by the same kind of considerations that weigh on the PLEO delegates to the Democratic National Convention. They, too, have constituents. They, more than most, are vested in the best outcome for the Democratic Party, at the convention and in November.

It's why I don't stay up nights worrying about what they'll do come nominating time.

Because, by and large, they're people of honor. Even the Clintonistas.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

If she really believes…

this, well, that's part of the problem.
She said she never expected to do well in any of those contests, even though she had been favored to win Maine. Clinton repeated her criticism that the caucus system is undemocratic and caters mostly to party activists.
If the Clinton camp is convinced that a cabal of party activists is out to get them in the caucuses, well, they'd be disheartened to learn that in my precinct, the only one who probably qualifies under that heading was me, and I ended up with her. In fact, only three out of the 32 attendees had ever been to a caucus before, and all three ended up on the Hillary roster. I don't think my precinct was atypical.

And what about the delegates she has won in the caucus states? Is she going to release them because their selection was "undemocratic."

It's a bit of a puzzle why the Clintons have never been able to crack the caucus code - it was a problem for Bill, too - but sour grapes won't provide a solution.

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Not exactly a photo finish...

I promised some folks at my caucus to post the District results when I got 'em. I've got 'em.

In the 32nd Legislative District...
8447 attendees! (Nearly 3 times the 2004 attendance of 2988 Democrats.)
Obama: 656 Delegates-68.98%
Clinton: 275 Delegates-28.92%
Uncommitted: 11 Delegates-1.16%
Kucinich: 2 Delegates-.21%

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sometimes it really is all good.

Via Darryl...
After winning in Washington state, Louisiana and Nebraska contests yesterday and Maine today, Obama went on to win a Grammy—beating a Clinton in the process:
The presidential candidate beat both former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter to win best spoken word album for his audio version of his book “The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream.”
Feels like we're looking at a force of nature here...

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Since you asked.

Nick Beaudrot...
If Barack Obama wins Maine by the current margin of 17 points, including contests in some towns that Clinton needed to win, can we end the fiction that Barack Obama has a "problem" attracting the votes of lunch-bucket, working-class white Democrats?
Since you asked, yes.

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And now...


Who’s Out

Alan Keyes
Unfortunately, lost to Mike Gravel.

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And so we begin.

"Let me be one of the first," writes artistdogboy...
" call for Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell and Jay Inslee et al to reconsider your pre-caucus endorsement and be willing now to support Barak Obama who has won the Washington State Democratic caucuses overwhelmingly and decisively. There is no doubt now who most Democrats in Washington State want to be the party's nominee. You as our elected leaders and subject to the will of the voters should be willing to support the peoples choice.
No, please. It's not a path we want to take for several reasons. Of course, there's the suggestion that our elected officials should be mandated, contrary to the rules that govern their delegate status, to cast their personal ballot as directed, even if that direction constitutes a violation of their own conscience and best judgment. That's a profound violation of the spirit of democracy, and the principles of Democrats.

Secondly, all we know without doubt is that most Democrats who attended a precinct caucus supported Obama, probably in numbers slightly smaller than his ultimate delegate totals, given the nature of caucus math (in my precinct, nearly a third of the attendees netted Clinton a fourth of the delegates). Right now, six of Washinton's sixteen PLEO delegates have endorsed Clinton, which is a reasonable reflection of Clinton's support. Even if we assume that caucus attendees are representative sample of broader Democratic sentiment (a substantial leap, in my experience), how would Obama merit 100% of the PLEOs?

There is, of course, the question of whether Senator Obama can afford to be held to a similar standard? Should Senators Kerry and Kennedy be required to honor the will of the voters of Massachusetts? Should Senator Obama eschew the support of any PLEOs from New York? California? New Jersey? Clinton's scored well in some big states, folks. No so much, maybe, in the single Congressional district states, but they don't really add up much in the PLEO column. Nope, it's a mathematical loser for Obama.

The rules have been in place since the last national convention. All of the campaigns know what they are, and knew as they plotted their strategies. Let's just drop the calls for the PLEOs to be subjected to an eleventh hour, ad hoc rules change. We elected them to represent us as delegates, as well as in their public or Party offices, according to their conscience with the best interests of our Party in mind. Let's trust that they have done so, even as we may disagree with their decisions.

It's called "representative democracy." We're in favor of it, remember?

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

"massive rout" ?

Well, maybe. Just scattered reports so far, but it's all good for Obama.

Might be time to start getting used to Barack...

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Dateline: SHL-0558

Don't know what kind of bellwether we might be, but my four delegate precinct split 3-1 for Obama. Attendance was more than double 2004, I'm pleased to say, and enthusiasm was high.

Where did I end up? In the Hillary camp for the day. There was no question that Obama would do well, but the Hillary supporters looked to need a little help to secure their delegate and alternate, and I wasn't inclined to send a table full of first time causus attendees away empty handed. Neither was I going to go head to head with them for the chance to move forward in the process, so my caucus participation is done for the year. Actually, it's pretty exciting that none of the folks going on to the Legislative District and County meetings had ever attended a precinct caucus before. Very exciting, actually.

Most effective spokepersons for Obama? The folks who'd been to Key Arena yesterday. For Clinton, the nurses, hands down.

Did you caucus? What'd you see?

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We are the headlines…
Washington Is the Contest du Jour
Popping over to the library now to see if they can use a hand setting up.

I'm about 75% sure right now, with uncommitted slipping to second place. Not enough to announce, though. We'll see how it plays out.

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Random tunes…

…to ponder presidential preferences to.
Emmylou Harris - Leaving Louisiana
They Might Be Giants - Your Racist Friend
The Ramones - Beat On The Brat
T. Rex - Born To Boogie
Slick 57 - Cheatin' Side Of Town
David Gans - Down To Eugene
Terry Gibbs - Ring Dem Bells
The Beatles - If I Fell
Charlie Hunter - (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
Hot Rize - Colleen Malone
The caucuses kick off in less than 12 hours. I'm still a bit befuddled.

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I'm told the Democratic nomination may come down to the backroom machinations of what seems to be a sinister group of tri-lateralist 34th degree Free Masons or some such. They're rumored to be "mostly-white mostly-rich mostly-men," not to mention "unaccountable and undemocratic". Bill O'Reilly offers a bit of concern trolling, predicting that when the cabal's work is exposed, the assembled delegates are going to "tear that arena down" and "destroy the Democratic Party."

Now we get this from failed hack Democratic strategist and DNC member at large Donna Brazile...
"If 795 of my colleagues decide this election, I will quit the Democratic Party. I feel very strongly about this."
…and a corresponding pledge from Chris Bowers.
If someone is nominated for POTUS from the Democratic Party despite another candidate receiving more poplar support from Democratic primary voters and caucus goers, I will resign as local precinct captain, resign my seat on the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, immediately cease all fundraising for all Democrats, refuse to endorse the Democratic "nominee" for any office, an otherwise disengage from the Democratic Party through all available means of doing so.
Enough already.

If the Party Leaders and Elected Officials that are given the privilege and responsibility of making up the unpledged PLEO delegation to to the Democratic National Convention are, indeed, mostly white, rich and male, it's a reflection of the makeup of our Congressional delegation. The DNC members themselves are selected according to a scrupulous affirmative action formula, hence the substantial corps of "at large" members who are used to the desired balance. It's the very reason that failed hacks Democratic strategists like Donna Brazile are members. In the end, the balance isn't perfect, but it's not disregarded. (And yes, electing Darcy would be a step in the right direction.)

As for their being "unaccountable and undemocratic," as I review the list of PLEO's from the upper left, it looks like one of the most accountable groups of folks you'll find. All but one, former Speaker of the House Tom Foley, is currently holding an elected position, either in public or Party office. They'll all come home from the convention to face constituencies who can, and should, hold them accountable for the part of their job that includes guiding our Party as delegates to our National Convention. How many "pledged" delegates risk a similar amount of scrutiny when they come home? How many put their employment on the line as an element of their choice?

Bower's notion of tying the convention outcome to a national primary and caucus outcome is troubling because there is no national primary, nor caucus, and hence no outcome. The various procedures used by various states to select convention delegates have the DNC rules in common, but are widely different in procedure, participation and timing. The way caucus outcomes are measured, with the imposition of thresholds and subsequent switches, sometimes in two or three steps before a delegation is finalized, results in a count that's impossible to compare to the outcome in a primary state, though even there factors like thresholds and subsequent conventions can blur the true sentiment at the grassroots. Add the fact that despite the record turnouts we see this year, these are typically low turnout events, involving a fraction of the overall Democratic electorate. Many, indeed, most, don't choose to participate in what they see as the 'inside baseball' business of the nominating process, satisfied that the Convention will work its will and produce a qualified ticket. Sometime around Labor Day, folks will start paying real attention to the choices they're offered. Tying anything to an imaginary national outcome is as silly as the so-called "battle of the states." (I'll take California and spot you two Idahos and a Utah. Gimme New York and I'll toss in Wyoming and American Somoa.)

Tying the votes of the unpledged PLEOs to such an outcome, at the state, national or any level, is, contrary to Bowers' case, a violation of the rules of the convention. He argues...
If you think this is somehow rejecting the rules and bylaws of the Democratic Party, you are wrong. The fact is that there is nothing in the bylaws of the Democratic Party that dictate how super delegates should vote at the Democratic national convention.
Actually, he unintentionally makes the opposite case. As he says, nothing in the bylaws binds the votes of the PLEOs. Making up a standard after the fact and holding those delegates to it, without ratification by the National Convention, precisely rejects the rules and bylaws of the Democratic Party. It's no accident that unlike all other delegates to the convention, the PLEOs are unnpledged. That's deliberate. Some argue that this is somehow undemocratic, but what sort of democracy dictates how an individual must cast his ballot? Pledged delegates choose the campaign they represent, and, in fact, despite their 'pledge,' retain their choice throughout the process, including the first ballot of the National Convention. Every delegation is individually polled for each ballot, with no predetermined bloc voting permitted. Every delegate may, ultimately, vote as they choose.

Why then should these Party Leaders and Elected Officials, people we have entrusted with a role in determining the course and success of our Party, people who have sweat equity in the Party and skin in the game on the ballot, why should they be bound, even when their personal judgment is that another choice is the best for our Party and our nation? Should we bind them to violate the very trust with which we endow them? Where's the democracy in that? I prefer to hold them to the standard of representative democracy, a democratic and Democratic principle since Democrats like Jefferson and Madison set about designing this grand and ongoing experiment in liberal governance.

We entrust our leaders (and on the Washington PLEO list, three have represented me in the US House. One I've voted for in every election she's faced, from the local school board to the US Senate. They're not strangers.) with many occasions to exercise their judgment responsibly. This is one of them. If they abuse that trust, we can seek their removal, but we cannot reasonably, and certainly not in the name of democracy or Democratic prinicples, deny them the right to cast a freely chosen ballot at the convention.

And Ms. Brazile? Fear not. 795 of your colleagues, even if they could somehow be magically united, can't and won't decide anything. Decisions on the convention floor still take 2025 votes.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

See, to me…

…this is just creepy.
"At some point in the evening, a light is going to shine down and you will have an epiphany and you'll say, 'I have to vote for Barack.'"

Barack Obama
It was a joke, right? Had to be.

But it creeps me out, just the same.



From Dave Johnson
Taxes And Unions Got Us Out Of The Depression

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Worth repeating.

Kevin Drum (my emphasis)…
...Republicans filibustered the [stimulus] bill and then sustained the filibuster on virtually a party line vote. Why? Because it had a few billion dollars of spending targeted at Democratic priorities. There's nothing more to it.

The moral of the story is this: Republicans have no intention of ever working with Democrats on anything remotely like a bipartisan basis. Even on something as trivial as this, they filibustered and won. They will do the same thing next year no matter who's president. They will do it on every single bill, no matter how minor. They will never stop obstructing. Period.
No, they won't.

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Inch by inch…

Nebraska court bans the electric chair

Since electrocution was the only form of capital punishment in Nebraska, it's an effective ban on state murder in Cornhusker country. Good on 'em.

Why not Washington?

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Oh, why not...

Rinse. Repeat...

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Another edition of…

what Goldy said.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Quote of the day.

Regarding the presumptive Republican nominee...
"He's 70,000 years old, he's not going to change."

Cleta Mitchell, chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation

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Scout Finch...
No matter which candidate you are supporting (and I am clearly against that candidate)...
I know just what ya' mean...

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It is true…

…and Bill deserves a share of blame. I'm not crazy about the "Clintons" frame in Obama's recent mailing, though. Hillary wasn't the titular head of the Democratic Party in the 90's, and I think the relevance of her experience as first lady has been largely overblown. Since I'm disinclined to give her as much credit as she claims, I can't assign her all the blame Barack apparently wishes I would. Still, the numbers are real, and the picture ain't pretty...
8 years of the Clintons, major losses for Democrats across the nation.
Governors (-12 Ds)
30 Dems after the 1992 election
18 Dems after the 2000 election

U.S. Senators (-7 Ds)
57 Dems after the 1992 election
50 Dems after the 2000 election

Reps (-46 Ds)
258 Dems after the 1992 election
212 Dems after the 2000 election
It's fair, at least, to ask what she's learned and why her leadership would produce a different result. There could be very good answers to those questions. I'd like to hear them.

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It takes all that?

It's everywhere. I snagged it at DKos
Lieberman's endorsement of Republican John McCain disqualifies him as a super-delegate to the Democratic National Convention under what is informally known as the Zell Miller rule, according to Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.
Gee, I would'a thunk not being a Democrat would be enough. We had a nominee in Connecticut, remember?

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Notes on indecision…

I get pretty steamed when Clinton hits Obama for wanting " raise Social Security taxes by a trillion dollars." After all, I think Obama's plan to raise the cap on the payroll tax is a perfectly reasonable way to strengthen - not 'rescue,' there is no crisis - the system.

Then again, Obama can really set me off with cheap shots at Clinton's health care proposal. I'm in the universal camp, myself, and that takes some kind of mandate.

I'm supposed to be mad at Bill for noticing that Obama's black or something, I guess, but I figured that out by myself. Frankly, Bill Clinton's behavior on the stump for his wife is the least of my problems with Bill Clinton. (Actually, Obama gets pretty close to the heart of my Clinton problem in a recent mailing).

Mrs. Obama, on the other hand, takes a giant step toward a hazardous cliff with this
GMA: Could you see yourself working to support Hillary Clinton should she win the nomination?

MICHELLE OBAMA: I'd have to think about that. I'd have to think about that, her policies, her approach, her tone.
Have they tried to fix that yet? Pointers? 'Cause, well, I have to think about that.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Here's the deal…

The U.S. Senate refused to consider a Democratic-backed $156 billion economic stimulus bill that would expand a House measure by giving tax rebates to more people and extending unemployment benefits.


"The president has made it clear that he doesn't want that extension of unemployment benefits," Republican Senator John Thune
"The president has made it clear…" That's it. They're only there to do his bidding. The Republican Senators support George W. Bush's policies and have nothing else to offer. One more reason…

Hat tip to dday at Hullabaloo.

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That's what I'm talkin' about…

…and a fairly big part of the reason I'm not talking much about electability. Not that we can't blow our advantages, of course, but the advantages really are there. We can win this one, and we should, and with either candidate.

Hat tip to AMERICAblog.

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Like I always say sometimes.

Progressive is an awful term for a variety of reasons and it's about time to reclaim the word liberal.
Time to reclaim the word radical, too. Near as I can tell, 'progressive' means you just don't want folks to know what your actual politics are.

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Since you asked.

Nora O'Donnell…
"If people want change so much, why isn't Obama winning this outright?"
Since you asked, because Barack Obama doesn't have a patent on change. Because even among people anxious for change, there are differences on how to change, how fast to change, how much to change and what, finally, to change into. Because the status quo is on the other side of the partisan divide and Hillary Clinton is change, change equal to Obama quantitatively, however different qualitatively.

That's why.

Hat tip to MyDD.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Bush Budget…










Jesse Lee has links and details at The Gavel.

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Me neither.

I'm with Goldy
If it ain’t Boeing, I’m not going (to vote for you)
Happily, both Clinton and Obama are in our good graces on that score.

McCain? Not so much. I gotta wonder how the right wing of the upper left feels about that.

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All my life's a circle…

"Some extreme elements have come into one of the parties and have driven out or locked out or booed out or heckled out the moderates…I think an overwhelming defeat for them will be the best thing that can happen to the Republican party in this country in the eyes of all the people. Because then you would restore moderation to that once great party of Abraham Lincoln."

President Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1964

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My bold prediction...

…because I know you've been waiting. When all the votes are tallied, there will be a Democratic candidate with a significant but not insurmountable delegate lead. That's what I know, or think I know.

The prospective first fella gets more specific...
“Bill thinks Hillary will win in NY, NJ, AR, TN, OK, CA and ID. Clinton thinks Obama will [win] in IL, CO, MN, AL and GA. He’s not sure about MO, MA and CT. (He’s missing New Mexico.)”

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Five years.

12 lies.

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Another fun fact…

…from the WaPo.
Interest on the debt next year will total $260 billion, about what will be spent by the departments of Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Justice combined.
Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.


Monday, February 04, 2008


Hat tip to Megan Seling at Slog.


From the "Fun facts" file.

Via Mr. Natural
On 23 January 2008 the Iraqi government ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which the USA refuses to sign.

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Who are you undecided jerks…

wonders emptypockets.

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Clark Humphrey...
Ron Paul, in town for two quick speeches, brought forth some more of his right-fringe, anti-gov't. talk. Then he and his aides drove off in a minivan to Spokane, presumably hoping the WSDOT crews had gotten the passes reopened.


So far…

…me too. Rebecca Traister at Salon
On Super Tuesday, for the first time in my life, I will walk into the voting booth without knowing who to vote for. I blame John Edwards.
Of course, I get a few extra days and a ton of extra data between her decision and mine, so who knows.

But for now, yeah, me too.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

From the "Magnetic ribbons aren't 'support' " file…

…via CNN.
Every day, five U.S. soldiers try to kill themselves. Before the Iraq war began, that figure was less than one suicide attempt a day.

I hate what they've done to my Army.

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An offer…

…I'll happily refuse.

Britney Spears' choreographer takes on circus
Read full story for latest details.
No. No thank you.


And now...


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Whom do you trust?

Todd Beeton neatly distills the central themes of the Clinton and Obama campaigns from their recent ads featuring members of the Kennedy clan.
Barack Obama as inspirer in chief:
Barack Obama can lift America and make us one nation again.
Hillary Clinton as problem solver in chief:
Today Hillary Clinton is the champion of the voiceless in our society. Hillary knows how to solve our problems.
Sounds about right, but I'm not sure either message is actually true. It's not a matter of dishonesty. I believe they believe it. It's a matter of faith, and right now I'm agnostic.

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Len at
What will be the real difference between the parties this coming Tuesday? Well, I’ll tell you…

Democrats will be voting for the candidate they like most; Republicans for the candidate they dislike least.
That's why I'm largely impervious to the "failure to nominate X will lead to the destruction of America as we know it" argument. I'd rather celebrate the fact that we've got two talented, accomplished, qualified candidates, let alone the historic nature of their respective candidacies. I'm fairly convinced either of ours can beat any of theirs. Not by default, of course. There's work to be done. It's work worth doing for either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, though, and with enough work, either of them can be successful, both at the ballot box and in the White House.

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Did'ya know?

Edwards had no speechwriter on his staff; he wrote his own words.
I didn't. Madeline Stow knows, though, that and more, and though her profile of Edwards is post-campaign, it's not really a post-mortem. Interesting reading for those who wonder what happened…and what might yet happen.

He's two years younger than I am, and I'm feeling pretty chipper.


A reminder…

…from thehim.
[I]n 2000, no one had more experience in government than Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

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'Twas random, and the slithy toves...

...did gyre and gimble in the wabe. Ten times.
Rev. Gary Davis - You Got To Move
Peter, Paul & Mary - Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
Steve Turre - Steve's Blues
Elvis Presley - Devil In Disquise
Lovin' Spoonful - Younger Generation
Michael Hedges - Aerial Boundaries
Frank Sinatra - A Fine Romance
Norah Jones - I Don't Want To Get Over You
George Hamilton IV - Truck Driving Man
Shannon McNally - Worst Part Of A Broken Heart

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“That requires an explanation...”

Specter said.
No it doesn't. Comparing the NFL's disposal of property after an investigation involving their private rules with the C.I.A. destroying public records they were under specific order to retain? What a ridiculous trivialization of the crimes of the executive branch agency.

The NFL is a private business concern, not a public agency.

Evidence gathered during NFL investigations is private property, not public records.

The NFL rules are a private agreement, not a federal law.

Our soldiers are at war. The economy is tanking and taking the middle class with it. Our nation is diminished to the status of beggar in the international arena - begging the Saudis for energy relief, NATO for more troops to conduct wars we've started and can't sustain.

Meanwhile, Arlen Specter is wondering if maybe his Iggles didn't get ripped off by Bill Belichick's rogue cameraman or some such silliness.

Silly is fun. I like silly. The US Senate, though, at this time? That's no place for silly.

I love me some NFL, but this is ridiculous.

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Friday, February 01, 2008


Consumer spending slowed in December

Net Loss of 17,000 Jobs in January Is First Since 2003

Bush: 'Troubling signs' for economy
Gee, ya' think? 'Course, I'm sure the Preznit's encouraged by this...
Exxon Mobil Profit Sets Record Again

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Want to be my leader?

First, be a leader. Mcjoan looks at the FISA fight and the role our presidential candidates could play, even if campaign pressures on the day before Super Tuesday kept them away from the Senate floor (and I, for one, don't feel particularly forgiving on that score. There's more press to be obtained and, I'd argue, more votes to be won by doing their jobs than by filling one more day with stump speeches)...
Among the Senators endorsing Clinton that need to be moved on this are Bayh, Bill Nelson, Feinstein, and Whitehouse. Obama's list includes Ben Nelson, Conrad, Johnson, and McCaskill. The presidential candidates would do well to contact these Senators and urge them to cast their votes in their stead.
I have to admit that if one of the candidates moved more of their endorsers on this one than the other, it would figure into my February 9th calculations. Showing up on the floor to cast a vote against immunity could secure my vote in the caucuses.

Mcjoan's right (a redundancy, I know). This is a time to lead.

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Worth repeating.

...Mr. Edwards, far more than is usual in modern politics, ran a campaign based on ideas. And even as his personal quest for the White House faltered, his ideas triumphed: both candidates left standing are, to a large extent, running on the platform Mr. Edwards built.
There's a point where some campaigns, faced with certain electoral failure, execute an 11th hour transition into a campaign not for nomination, but for the proverbial "soul of the Party." In Edwards' case, that was his starting point.

From his announcement in New Orleans' 9th Ward to the conclusion of his active campaign in the same spot, he put poverty on the political agenda this year, and with it the corresponding need for policies that fight poverty by expanding the middle class. He made including everyone the standard for health care policy by being there first. He put "labor union" back in the Democratic lexicon from the beginning with a campaign strategy that failed in no small part because of the loss some hoped for union support at critical junctures.

He reminded us who we are, as Democrats, and what we're supposed to be about.

Thanks again, John.

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What I've learned from the Republican primaries.

Not that I've paid all that much attention, but it seems like George W. Bush may actually turn out to be the best they can do these days.

Sorry bastards.

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Darcy, Dave and dollars.

Goldy has the good tidings...
Rep. Dave Reichert’s year-end fundraising report just showed up on the FEC website, and man is it pathetic: only $236,612 net contributions for the quarter and $462,828 cash-on-hand at the end of the year. Compare that to Darcy Burner’s $339,495 for the quarter and $607,144 cash-on-hand...
I wouldn't be surprised if this news puts that House Appropriations Committee seat Reichert covets so shamelessly out of his reach. It's hard to believe the R's would consider him worth the investment. After all, Darcy's not beating him because her party is stacking the deck in her favor. The President of the United States hasn't been in town to give her a boost. She's without any of the inherent advantages of incumbency.

He's got all that, and it all adds up to behind.

The scary part is that he's probably a better candidate than he is a Congresscritter.

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