Sunday, May 31, 2009

From the "Wouldn't it be nice…" file.

A local note from Christopher Frizzelle at Slog...
Deep thought: Could we just turn the viaduct into an elevated bike path? Wouldn't that be insanely cool? Holy expletive, it's beautiful up there.
Yes it is...

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From the "Me too" file.

The Washington Families Standing Together coalition is endorsed by the following organizations:

(Click for legibility.)

…and me too.

Hat tip to Lurleen at Washblog.

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It's time for...

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another argument…

…for energy independence. Via CNN...
Saudi Arabian officials beheaded and then publicly displayed the body of a convicted killer in Riyadh on Friday, an act that prompted a stiff denunciation by a leading human rights monitor.
I heartily join in that denunciation, fully understanding that nothing at all will, or, arguably, can, be done about it so long as the Saudis have us by the gas tanks.

They're not our allies, they're our pushers and, like junkies of any kind, we'll tolerate damn near any abuse rather than face Mr. Jones. Until we break the addiction, we're not really a sovereign country, are we?

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Duh news of the day.

The NYT...
After six years of war, Iraq is a society with a serious anger management problem. That, along with a lot of men with a lot of experience fashioning bombs and setting ambushes, makes for a lethal mix.

"Love" i.e.d.s. Jeebus.

Another reason to bring 'em home.

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Nashville cats …

...may play clean as country water, but it's those boys from Texas that seem to write the best tunes. Lots of each (and then some) in this week's random ten...
The Louvin Brothers - Cash On The Barrelhead
Ian & Sylvia - Early Morning Rain
John Hartford - I'm Still Here
Slim Harpo - I'm A King Bee
Townes Van Zandt - Tecumseh Valley
Radney Foster & Roger Creager - Luckenbach, Texas
Guy Clark - Black Diamond Strings
Kinky Friedman - Sold American
The Lovin' Spoonful - Nashville Cats
NRBQ - Twelve Bar Blues

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Friday, May 29, 2009

From the "Me too" file.

John Cole...
...I know that my life is easiest when I just do what the women around me tell me to do…


Let's hope they're not listening,,, Peggy Noonan. Not that there's much risk, given that she sounds somewhat rational on the call for a confirmation fight over Sonia Sotomayor...
Excite the base? How about excite a moderate, or interest an independent? How about gain the attention of people who aren't already on your side?
I've never really understood the whole "excite the base" strategy, anyway. Isn't the "base" supposed to be made up of folks who are with you regardless? Democrats call 'em yellow dogs, Republicans call 'em, what? Lunatics? They sure spend enough time howling at the moon...

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

From the "The more things change..." file.

Hat tip to the Chicago History Journal.

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A point to ponder...

...via The Mep Report...
The Dutch, well known for their allowance of casual drug use and incredibly low resulting addiction rate, have found that they no longer have enough criminals to keep their prisons at capacity.

The Dutch have announced a closing of eight prisons as well as a new initiative to import Belgian criminals to fill cell vacancies.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ya' think?

John "I don't support torture, I just vote for it" McCain
"Justice Sotomayor may be qualified and we will examine that, but I think I would not have nominated her."
No foolin'? Ya' think maybe that's a reason you lost?

Just one reason out of a bunch, of course, but a big one, I figure...

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Quote of the day.

"I commend President Obama for nominating a well-qualified woman."

Sen. Olympia Snowe on Sonia Sotomayor.
Yep, we can get this done for the new Court term.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Regarding Supreme Courts…

…it sounds like Obama got it right, but…

Graphical hat tip to SamGrace, who, I'm sure, would encourage you to spread it around. There's a range of sizes and styles here.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

From the "Here too" file.

LA Times...
For much of the Iraq war, Camp Pendleton, home to the 1st Marine Division, held the grim distinction of being the U.S. military base with the highest number of troops killed and wounded.

Every day here is Memorial Day.
Here too.

Have a good one, but don't forget.

Hat tip to Blue Texan

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

From the "Me neither" file.

Melissa McEwan...
I'm not ironically detached, I'm not apathetic, I'm not resigned, and I'm not contemptuous of bleeding hearts.
Nor I.

Heck, I am a bleeding heart.

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It's time for...

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

If you must know...'s right here...

(Click for legibility.)

It's just a quick search away, as it turns out. I mean, jeebus...Oh well, as John Cole says…
...every dollar spent on this is a dollar not spent doing something harmful, like funding Republicans in races.

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Let's put this straight right off the bat: favoring the use of torture is not a political position, it's a mental illness.
Exactly so.


That's it, close 'em down.

I heartily join the chorus decrying the RNC's misogynistic substitution of Nancy Pelosi's surname for a vulgarity for female genitalia. It's unconscionable and un-American.

This, though? This is downright anti-American...
The RNC video, which begins with the speaker’s head in the iconic spy-series gun sight...
The Republican National Committee has created an ad which depicts the Speaker Of The House Of The United States Of America, the third highest Constitutional officer in the nation, second in the line of Presidential succession, in the sights of a gun.

This isn't the work of a random blogger with a perverse imagination and a pirated copy of Photoshop, or the work of (theoretically) some extremist hate-monger. This is the work of the Republican National Committee.

Iconic or not, depicting the Speaker's - any Speaker's, any party, any time - immanent assasination is downright treasonous.

When the RNC staff shows up Tuesday morning, they should find Secret Service padlocks on the door with paddy wagons lined up for the perps. The line of legitimacy as an American political party has faded from the RNC's rear-view mirror.

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From the "Me too" file.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge...
“Yeah, I disagree with Dick Cheney.”
Yeah, me too.

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From the "Elections have consequences." file.

No, our Democratic President and Congress haven't done everything they need to do yet, and no, they're not doing everything just the way I'd like. But they've done all this...









That's a significant list of things done that needed doing, all of it signed and sealed - signed being the operative word. Not a bit of it was possible as recently as six months ago.

Yes, we still have wars to end and justice to deliver and miles to go before we sleep. The lives of millions of Americans have already been improved by Democratic governance, though, and we're just getting started.

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And again...

...a random ten from the "potential playlist" directory...
Tom Rush - The Circle Game
Robert Earl Keen - The Road Goes On Forever
David Pirner - Pretty Boy Floyd
Roger Miller - Kansas City Star
Bob Wills - Take Me Back To Tulsa
Chet Baker - Let's Get Lost
Tim O'Brien - Mick Ryan's Lament
The Greenbriar Boys - Rambling Round
Townes Van Zandt & Freddy Fender - Pancho & Lefty
David Gans - Normal
Seven of these have made the Tuesday Night Tunes cut lately. A couple aren't ready for the public just yet...

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Friday, May 22, 2009

It might be a Quote of the Day…

…if it wasn't so obvious. Disgraced former Speaker Newt Gingrich...
“Part of me is inherently medieval."
Yeah, Newt, we knew.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Feelin' alright?

Not feelin' too good hisself...

(Yep, you can click it bigger)

Lots of fun stuff at

Hat tip to Mr. Natural, apologies to Dave Mason.

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Chart of the day.

Coalition deaths by nationality in Afghanistan, via

(It'll click a bit bigger for older eyes like mine.)

…and it keeps getting worse.

The right way in Afghanistan is out.

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From the Department of Redundancy Department.

Cheney lied.

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Well, yeah…

John "Boner" Boehner on the Gitmo internees...
"Republicans oppose releasing these terrorists or importing them into our local communities."
…Democrats do too. We're about prosecuting and imprisoning them. You know, the whole "rule of law" thing.

Of course, the residents of Florence don't consider the inmates at the Super Max part of their "local community" anyway. They don't lose any of 'em, either.

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Lest we forget…

Ruth Marcus remembers...
"The violation does not represent only a single instance of reckless conduct," a report by an investigative subcommittee concluded. "Rather, over a number of years and in a number of situations, Mr. Gingrich showed a disregard and lack of respect for the standards of conduct that applied to his activities."
Repeat after me - "disgraced former Speaker Newt Gingrich."

No less disgraceful, of course, as a private citizen.

Hat tip to John Aravosis.

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Take the Pledge!

I pledge to DECLINE TO SIGN REFERENDUM 71 PETITIONS. I am opposed to discrimination and believe that all Washington families deserve equal protection under the law. This referendum seeks to repeal a law passed by the legislature that gives registered domestic partners many of the rights already enjoyed by legally married couples.
Sign it here on behalf of Dan Savage's family - and mine.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

From the "It takes one to know one" file.

Arlen Specter
"The CIA has a very bad record when it comes ... to honesty. It goes back a long time."
Yes it does, and Arlen should know.

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"...the first step to effectively opposing the war in Afghanistan is shifting US public opinion..."
...Peter Rothberg offers a pointer to United for Peace and Justice's National Media Day of Action, scheduled for tomorrow. UPJ's got an excellent resource page up for all y'all who want to help make the case that the right way in Afghanistan is out.

What will you do to end the war tomorrow?

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A little bit of courage…

…a very little bit. Too damn little. But a little bit, and some of it from one of my very own State Reps (we get two per up here in the upper left). Via Kathleen at the NPI Advocate...
Some legislators aren’t waiting to see which way the wind is blowing and are standing up for what’s best for Washington. Senators from both sides of the state, Lisa Brown (D-Spokane) and Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle), and Representative Maralyn Chase (D-Shoreline) advocated for a state income tax during the recent legislative session.
Yep, Maralyn's mine. Good on her.

Good on all of 'em.

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From the "Me too" file.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
“I believe the speaker."
Me too.

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Honey, I blew up the blog!

Not really, but I'm messing about with the template, and anything's apt to happen for the next little bit.

All an effort to create an even better Upper Left. That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it...

Stlll fiddlin' about. I've enabled Blogspot comments since I was having trouble setting up Haloscan with the new template. and might just leave it this way. Shame to lose six years worth of comments (thought nothing's really ever lost on the net. It's all on a server somewhere, it seems) but there are some positives to having everything a bit more neatly integrated.

More to come, mostly cosmetic.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

More funny "hmm" than funny "Heh™," I suppose...

…not really funny "ha" at all, given the topic at hand. Funny, though…
The “We Did Nothing Wrong, & Nancy Should Have Stopped Us” Song
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The CIA did nothing wrong.
Doo-da, Doo-da.
Pelosi knew and went along.
Oh, de doo-da day.
More here.

Hat tip to Gordon.

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Nick Beaudrot...
But at the moment, there ought to be a strong presumption that Obama and his team understand how to "make[] people who critisize him look like fools".
Everytime someone says "Obama must!" and he doesn't, it seems to work out for Obama. Everytime someone says "Obama must not!" and he does, it seems to work out for Obama.

Maybe Obama knows what he's doing. That's my bet, and, apparently, Nick's.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's time for...

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

When she's right, she's right…

…and this time she's right. MoDo...
The question of what Nancy Pelosi knew or didn’t, or when she did or didn’t know, is irrelevant to how W. and Dick Cheney broke the law and authorized torture.

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From the "Me too" file.

Clark Humphrey, on matters local...
I still like the Viaduct. I always will. Even when it's gone.
I'm from here, but the here I'm from mostly isn't here anymore, and less of it is all the time.

Gettin' old ain't for sissies.

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Once again...

...a random ten.
Billy Joe Shaver - Georgia On A Fast Train
The Impressions - Gypsy Woman
Merle Haggard - Daddy Frank
Sam & Dave - I Thank You
Woody Guthrie - I Ain't Got No Home
James Brown - Papa's Got A Brand New Bag
John Prine - Sam Stone
Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing
Commander Cody - Hot Rod Lincoln
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys - Steel Guitar Rag

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Chart of the day.

Via Matt Yglesias...

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Some things change…

…but I still hate what they're doing to my Army...
US soldiers are now being forced to steal water in Iraq. With supplies tight, and the number of trucks carrying potable water even tighter, troops have resorted to stealing water from civilian contractors. Many have also reportedly suffered from dysentery because they were forced to drink untreated water from Iraqi wells.
Hat tip to Gordon.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good question…

…from Steve M....
Why is Nancy Pelosi the only person who seems to be in trouble over waterboarding?

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War is over if you want it.

Gil Kerlikowske, Seattle's gift to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy…
“Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them. We’re not at war with people in this country.”
…and while we're killing the "drug war" meme, can we do something about that "drug czar" nonsense, too? He's a bureaucrat, not a monarch.

Hat tip to Goldy Lee (thanks Carl).

Heck, hat tip to Goldy too, just on general principles.

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From the "Me neither" file.

Me neither.

Hat tip to Blue Gal, who got it here.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From the Upper Left Landmark file.

Just a few minuntes ago someone in Gig Harbor clicked a link and tipped my Sitemeter visitor stats over the 300,000 mark.

Yeah, I now, that's not even a good afternoon for some of the super bloggers out there, but I'm an old guy. I remember when the only way to get the word out was to crank that mimeograph machine until the stencil wore out and hit the sidewalk. The idea that 300K folks have actually chosen to look at this stuff is a pretty big deal for me.

It's all because of y'all. Thanks!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bonus Quote of the Day.

Jesse Ventura, via Darryl...
I’ll put it to you this way: You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.
There goes Jesse, filling our heads with dreams...

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Sorry, Senator…

…this won't do.

Darlene Fairley is not only my own personal State Senator, she's a leader in Olympia, a committee chair and member of the Powerful Senate Ways & Means Committee®. That stature (not to mention her safe seat in this capital D throught C Democratic district) makes this weak tea on taxes particular disappointing...
There was talk this session about increasing the sales tax by 0.3% (which would amount to 30 cents on a $100 purchase) to maintain funding for our health care safety net. By law, all tax increases have to be approved by a majority of voters. However, polling showed that people in several districts are not willing to pay more in taxes to provide these services. Polling also showed disapproval of a personal or corporate income tax, although studies indicate that our reliance on a regressive sales tax makes us the state with the most unfair tax system for lower and middle income taxpayers in the US. We’ll have to see what happens with these tax proposals in the future.
"Polling showed..."? "We'll have to see..."? Sorry Senator, but as one of the 49 people out of more than three and a half million elected to provide leadership and representation for your constituents and our state, you'll have to do better than that.

As you knowingly labor session after session to craft budgets based on "the most unfair tax system for lower and middle income taxpayers in the US," you must be likewise aware that you are ill-representing those lower and middle income taxpayers, a good many of whom you must know live right here in the 32nd. Our only hope is your leadership, and your leadership offers us "we'll have to see."

Who, exactly, is "we" if it is not the Democratic leadership of the Washington State Senate? Who will take the challenge of bringing those voters in "several districts" (not, I'm guessing, yours) out of the wilderness of fear and ignorance about tax justice and revenue security for our state if not the Democratic leadership of the Washington State Senate? Who will put a proposal before the people for a stable l and equitable revenue stream for our state if not the Democratic leadership of the Washington State Senate? Who will conduct the aggressive campaign of public education - time and again if need be - that will lift us out of last place in the tax equity standings, if not you?

Sorry, Senator. 'We'll see' won't do.

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Quote of the day.

Joe Lieberman, via Think Progress...
No, we’re not less safe.
Somehow, though, knowing that Joe feels OK doesn't make me feel any better.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's time for...

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sounds good to me...

H. Res. 417 calls on President Obama to:
1. Affirm our nation's commitment to uphold the Constitution;

2. Fully investigate Bush/Cheney administration officials' alleged crimes and hold them accountable for any illegal acts;

3. Hold accountable Bush/Cheney Administration officials who showed or show contempt for the legal duty to comply with Congressional subpoenas; disclosed the identity of any covert intelligence agent; pursued politically-motivated prosecutions;

4. Ensure that any Bush/Cheney administration official guilty of a war crime is prosecuted under the War Crimes Act and the Anti-Torture Act;

5. Affirm that it is the sole legal right of Congress to declare war; Criminalize lying to Congress and the American public about the reasons for going to war;

6. Restore the writ of habeas corpus as an essential principle of our democracy;

7. Ensure that torture and rendition are uniformly prohibited under United States law;

8. Responsibly close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp; Ensure that Americans can bring claims against their government;

9. Immediately take affirmative steps to protect all Bush/Cheney Administration documents;

10. Publicly review potential abuses of the presidential pardon process; and

11. Further reform the use of presidential signing statements.
If it sounds good to you, call your Member of Congress and ask her or him to join Rep.Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) as a co-sponsor of the Executive Branch Accountability Act of 2009. It's what checks, balances and the rule of law are all about.

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And once again...

...a random ten.
Dale Watson - In The Jailhouse Now
Johnny Rodriguez - North Of The Border
John Prine - Sam Stone
Yvonne Elliman - If I Can't Have You
The Impressions - Choice Of Colors
Johnny Cash - Rock Island Line
Wilson Pickett - 634-5789
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys - New San Antonio Rose
Buck Owens - Kickin' Our Hearts Around
The Roots w/Erykah Badu - You Got Me

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Friday, May 08, 2009

I've been out.

Anyone know if CBS has fired David Feherty yet?

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Quote of the day.

Ruy Teixeira in Time
"The outlook for Republicans is even worse than people think. Their biggest problem is that they really believe what they believe."
Reminds me of another one from John Cole that's been bouncing around my buffer for awhile...
Tax cuts are, to Republicans, secular creationism.
All evidence to the contrary, they just believe what they believe because they believe it.

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Heckuva job, Oly!...

...erm, the budget writers who congregated in Olympia under the banner of my political party who can't be summed up in a witty word or two that ends in "y" or "ie" but shouldn't, as Emmett reminds us, be used to besmirch the folks who call the fine town of Oly home.

“People will die as a consequence of this budget.”

Rep. Brendan Williams, D-Olympia
Democrats crafted and passed that budget, and a Democratic Governor signed it. As Democrats, we need to think long and hard about that, and then we need to do something about that.

And a little bonus advice from Adlai for our "leaders" in Olympia...
"Courage to do the right thing in public office is often at the price of the office."
Just so ya' know, cowardice can exact the same price.

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The awful employment news…

isn't quite as awful as the last time…
Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 601,000 in the week ended May 2 from a revised 635,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said.
…except for the part that keeps getting worse...
The number of people staying on the benefits roll after drawing an initial week of aid rose 56,000 to 6.351 million in the week ended April 25, the most recent week for which data is available. Analysts estimated so-called continued claims would be 6.36 million.

It was the highest reading on record and pushed the insured unemployment rate to 4.8 percent from 4.7 percent the week before. Continued claims have now notched fresh record high readings for 14 straight weeks.
If you think the system is working, ask someone who isn't.

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...about healthcare reform from Howard Dean
"If there is no public insurance option...then this is not reform at all."
I know that the good doctor coveted - and arguably merited - a place in the Obama administration, but, aside from the fact that there's little on his resume to suggest he'd be particularly happy as a professional subordinate, I think the cause of healthcare reform benefits from Dr. Dean's efforts from the outside. Without title or portfolio, he is vested in nothing more or less than good policy, and his credibility as an advocate is correspondingly enhanced.

He has the advantage, too, of being, in this case, indisputably correct.

Hat tip to Howie.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

From the "Me too" file.

Ms. McEwan...
Sometimes, Congress reminds me of the Student Council. In middle school. Except, more disorganized and with an inferior emotional maturity level.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Inch by inch, row by row…

Via the DNC blog...
Following last week's state senate vote to approve marriage equality, the Maine House today approved the bill by a of 89-57. The bill now goes to the Governor.
Why not Washington?

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Shorter Michael Steele…

Dear Olympia,

Please come. Bring Susan. Sit down. Shut up.


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Sunday, May 03, 2009

From the "What he said." file.

What he said.

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From the "Cunning Plan" file.

So here’s the plan. Obama nominates the person he really believes would make the best Supreme Court Justice. About the time the Senate Judiciary Committee takes up the nomination, there is a leak from the White House that Obama’s second choice is Bill Clinton.
Pesto! A Republican vote appears.


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It's time for...

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Another good'un…

…swiped from Blue Gal this time…

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From the "Me too" file.

Richard Smith at VetVoice...
If civilian torturers are not to be prosecuted, Lynndie England, Charles Graner and anyone else who has served in uniform and been convicted of maltreating detainees deserve the same measure of leniency afforded to Scooter Libby. Commute the remaining confinement of Charles Graner. Allow him to walk free, just like the civilians who are guilty of the same crime. However, if someone in this Administration discovers their elusive spine, keep Graner locked up and put the CIA agents in the cell next door.
Yep. It's past time, too, for another look at England and Graner's chain of command...all the way up.

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Lots'a rhymes, no reason...

...totally random.
Sam & Dave - Soul Man
Bobbie Gentry - Ode To Billy Joe
Donna Summer - Bad Girls
The Foundations - Build Me Up Buttercup
The Charlie Daniels Band - Billy The Kid
Marty Robbins - Don't Worry
Ferlin Husky - Stormy Weather
Roger Miller - Do Wacka Do
Curtis Mayfield - We're A Winner
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys - Take Me Back To Tulsa

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Friday, May 01, 2009

From the "It ain't over 'til it's over." file.

Two American marines and a sailor were killed during a military operation in Anbar...


Why I am not a Christian.

One of the reasons, anyway…

Gordon found it here.

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