Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chart of the day.


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Not too much rock, really...

...but definitely around the clock. The usual early AM random ten...
Loudon Wainwright III - High, Wide & Handsome
Cannibal & The Headhunters - Land Of 1000 Dances
Lovin' Spoonful - Younger Generation
The Crew Cuts - Sh'boom
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood - Summer Wine
The Foundations - Build Me Up Buttercup
The Gibson Brothers - Ophelia
Fred Eaglesmith - Harold Wilson
John Doe - Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line
Carbon Leaf - Raise The Roof
The Wainwright tune has worked its way into my setlist recently. It's from his Charlie Poole tribute. Really worth looking up.

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Friday, July 30, 2010


…I still hate what they've done to my Army...
...the report said that the pace of constant deployments in two wars had forced a lowering of recruiting and retention standards. Many new recruits were granted waivers, it said, for behavior that would have kept them out of the service in earlier years. Of 80,403 waivers granted since 2004, the report found that 47,478 were granted to people with a history of drug or alcohol abuse, misdemeanor crime or “serious misconduct,” which it defined as felony.

At the same time, the report found that there was a decrease in soldiers forced to leave the Army for misconduct. “This has likely resulted in the retention of over 25,283 soldiers who would have otherwise been separated in previous years,” the report said.
I've never been fond of the "Army of one" campaign. Individuality isn't a particularly valuable trait in military life. When the Army works, it's all about uniformity, conformity, common effort toward a defined goal.

Saddled with a unit full of drunks and felons, though, I imagine some soldiers are better off sticking to themselves.

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From the "Since you asked…" file.

Gov. Gregoire inquires
"Do you want liquor sold at street corner stores all across the state of Washington?"
Since you asked, sure.

Not that I support either of the privatization initiatives on the ballot this year - in this, as in virtually all, matters, I favor a legislative solution - but as a general proposition, why not? The neo-prohibitionist notion that the Mad Dog on your Quik-E-Mart shelf, or the tawny port on the grocer's shelf - is somehow less prone to abuse by those inclined than a pint of vodka is just silly.

While real government functions are out-sourced hither and yon, our state government hangs on to a retail monopoly at the expense of improved prices, selection and service that a private system could offer.

This isn't about drunk drivers, or The Children©, or revenue. It's about a relative handful of state jobs that are being maintained at the expense of scores of potential profitable small businesses and private sector jobs. Will those workers be AFSCME workers? Nope. A goodly number, though, will be members of other unions, and the new and growing businesses that a sensible move to private spirits sales could produce many new opportunities for union organizers.

So, without endorsing (or not) Initiative 1100 or 1105, sure. Legalize it.

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Quote of the day.

Rep. Charles Rangel...
I survived a Chinese attack in North Korea, and as a result, I wrote a book that having survived that, that I haven't had a bad day since. Today, I have to reassess that statement.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Things that make me go hmmm...

Via CNN...
The top U.S. military officer said that the founder of WikiLeaks was risking lives to make a political point by publishing thousands of military reports from Afghanistan.
The military, on the other hand, risks lives to make a political point by sending thousands of troops to Afghanistan.


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Riddle of the day.

From The Stranger
What do you call an alfalfa farmer who rails against government subsidies while soaking his own alfalfa fields in government subsidies?

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Couldn't happen to a nicer Party.

Well, they're not actually nice at all, of course, but Republican Tea Party is headed off the rails. For example...
Roy Blunt is birther-curious.
Roy Blunt says maybe the government "should have never have gotten in the health care business" with Medicare and Medicaid.
Roy Blunt used a parable to compare President Obama and other Democrats in Washington to monkeys.
Roy Blunt wants to repeal health care reform.
Roy Blunt is not conservative enough for his state's teabaggers.
Even Michele Bachmann doesn't pass the Tea Party test in Missouri. The Republicans have been exploiting fear and selling crazy for decades and it's finally catching up. That's one of the reasons I've avoided hitting the panic button despite the dire predictions for Democrats hither and yon.

I expect Blunt will be the Republican nominee, but will the RTP'ers throw up a challenge or sit on their hands come election day? Either's a possibility, one or the other is, I think, likely. How many places will this play out. Here in the upper left, will Clint Didier and the Palinites come home to Dino?

I can't wait until November. Our prospects look better every day.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quote of the day.

My own personal former Congressman, Jay Inslee, who joined my own personal current Congressman in voting against the Defense Supplemental for Afghanistan...
"It is wrong to be borrowing money from China, laying off American police officers, to train police officers in Afghanistan."
Yes, it is. Speaking of my OPC, Howie's got Rep. McDermott's remarks here.

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They've warned us…

…what they're going to do with a majority. The Republican Tea Party Contract On America...
1. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Health Insurance Reform)

2. Privatize Social Security or phase it out altogether

3. End Medicare as it presently exists

4. Extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil

5. Repeal Wall Street Reform

6. Protect those responsible for the oil spill and future environmental catastrophes

7. Abolish the Department of Education

8. Abolish the Department of Energy

9. Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency

10. Repeal the 17th Amendment
Puts some of the frustration with our majority in context, doesn't it?

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quote of the day.

Via Goldy...

Dino Rossi on DISCLOSE:

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Dear Chris Ariens…

…if your lede begins "Ed Rendell Criticizes Obama…", you're writing the wrong story.

In fact, if your lede begins "Ed Rendell…" you've wandered off base.


Upper Left

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LA Times
The Defense Department is unable to properly account for $8.7 billion out of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil revenue entrusted to it between 2004 and 2007, according to a newly released audit that underscores a pattern of poor record-keeping during the war.
Hat tip to Foiled Goil.

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From the "Since you asked…" file.

Oliver Willis wonders...
The RNC is having Andrew Breitbart in for an event, along with Chairman Steele. Besides the studied idiocy of Sarah Palin, is there a better statement about the intellectually dishonest state of the right in America?
Since you asked, nope, not that I can think of.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Earlier this week…

…I was going to tag this as the "un-American idea of the day." It's Saturday night, and there's no doubt, it's the pick of the week, may be the year so far. Disgraced former Speaker Newt Gingrich...
There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.
Gingrich is neither stupid nor ignorant. He says things like this fully understanding their essentially un-American character and knowing that they are destructive to Constitutional governance. He doesn't care.

Not about the truth.

Not about the Constitution.

Not America.

Not you.

The problem is, when he says things like this, pandering to people's basest fears and prejudices, he knows he can move a mob of people who don't understand, who don't know, who do not , some who may choose, in fact, to not grasp the idea that we are better than tyrannical theocracies only to the degree that we are different than them. To advocate imitating those tyrants at this historical juncture borders, it seems to me, on treason.

Heck, Newt may have just stumbled on the quintessential un-American idea.

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Good morning!

Ten to party on with, fall asleep to or wake up and find…
Cowboy Copas - Alabam
Clarence Garlow - New Bon Ton Roula
Ron Sunshine - Natural Man
Red Sovine - Juke Joint Johnny
Liza Martin - The Greatest
Tim & Mollie O'Brien - Unwed Fathers
Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers - Goodbye Booze
Ronnie Bowman - Jailhouse Blues
Ray Wylie Hubbard - Without Love
The Lovin' Spoonful - Younger Generation

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Friday, July 23, 2010

What Goldy said...

Those who advocate for nonpartisan elections claim they are trying to remove partisanship from politics, when in fact all they’re really doing is removing valuable information from the voting public.
He says more here.

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Public health warning…

…from driftglass.

Modern Conservatism is a disease.
If you don't understand that, you're already infected.

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Not to be an Obamabot or anything…

…because the administration's gotten enough stuff wrong, but once in a while they get it right. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner...
"We believe it is appropriate to let those tax cuts that go to the most fortunate expire."
Yes, it is.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

You may have noticed…

…the exhaustive coverage of the Shirley Sherrod story. I have a full basket of resentments and sympathies regarding it myself, but when all's said and done, Greg says it all...
Conservative activists will lie about anything, no matter how vile, for political gain. Don’t trust them.
Any of 'em.


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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Worth repeating.

Mike Lux...
The polling business is far more of an art than a science, is easily manipulated, and is open to as many interpretations as there are people looking at the polls.
Another note for the "Don't panic" file.

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Speaking of lists…

…recycled Republican candidate Dino Rossi's got himself on one, too. CREW's 2010 "Crooked Candidates" is pretty exclusive, with only eleven on the list and not just any eleven. As CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan explains, "…these 11 candidates represent the bottom of the barrel." A look at Dino's award citation, though, quickly proves he deserves the distinction.

The list, unranked and alphabetical…
· Roy Blunt (R) U.S. Senate, MO
· Charlie Crist (I) U.S. Senate, FL
· Jeff Denham (R) U.S. House, CA
· Alvin Greene (D) U.S. Senate, SC
· Timothy Griffin (R) U.S. House, AR
· J.D. Hayworth (R) U.S. Senate, AZ
· Ed Martin (R) U.S. House, MO
· Kendrick Meek (D) U.S. Senate, FL
· Dino Rossi (R) U.S. Senate, WA
· Marco Rubio (R) U.S. Senate, FL
· Allen West (R) U.S. House, FL
Any congratulations due are actually Patty's to claim, I suppose.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My own personal Congressman…

…top ten with a bullet! Via Howie...
Here are the ten most progressive members of the House of Representatives (as measured by lifetime Progressive Punch scores on crucial votes):
1. Grijalva, Raul D AZ-7
2. Schakowsky, Jan D IL-9
3. Baldwin, Tammy D WI-2
4. Edwards, Donna D MD-4
5. Sánchez, Linda D CA-39
6. Olver, John D MA-1
7. Conyers, John D MI-14
8. Lee, Barbara D CA-9
9. Payne, Donald D NJ-10
10. McDermott, Jim D WA-7
Jim makes the cut with a lifetime score of 94.14, but his current mark is 98.18, second only to Speaker Pelosi in the current Congress.

Other Democrats from the upper left range from Jay Inslee, ranked 115 with a score of 81.95, to Adam Smith, trailing the delegation at 166 with a 72.31 score.

Find your own personal congressmember here.

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Maybe we can petition for reparations.

After all, if anyone's democracy needs a little repair these days, it's ours. Fixer...
Like I've said since I began blogging here (6 years so far), the War on Terror was won on 12 September 2001 by Al Qaeda. They managed to turn the United States into a cowardly, bankrupt, quivering gelatinous mass. In our quest for "safety", we've willingly given up our civil rights and given the government almost complete control over our lives. We've thrown away our money in two theaters of war and given the rest to billionaires and corporations, yet we can't help out the worst off among us.
Back in the day there was a patch popular among Vietnam vets that read 'Second Place - SE Asia War Games.' Time to whip up something like that for the WOT.

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Monday, July 19, 2010


…from AMERICAblog
BP has apologized for the Photoshopped version of its command center, and it has just released this new, unedited version.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chart of the day.

From the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (pdf)...

Hat tip to Meteor Blades.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thank you, Mr.President...

Obama slams GOP for stalling jobless benefits
More, please.

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Home from work...

...time to crank up the tunes.
The Crew Cuts - Sh'boom
Carolyn Mark & Dave Lang - One, I Love You
The Fleetwoods - Come Softly To Me
Lulu - Can I Get A Witness
Harry Belafonte - Man Smart (Woman Smarter)
The Hollywood Argyles - Alley Oop
The Gibson Brothers - Ophelia
Them - I Got A Woman
Gram Parsons - Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man
Clifton Chenier - Ay-Tete Fee
Randomly selected, of course.

Obviously, I suppose.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Good questions…

The Gavel responds to the latest Boehner boner by wondering...
Which of these proposed federal regulations to protect taxpayers and consumers does Mr. Boehner think is “a great idea” to stop to give “breathing room” to the special interests?
SAFE CRIBS AND BASSINETS FOR CHILDREN: The Commission is proposing a more stringent safety standard for bassinets and cradles that will further reduce the risk of injury associated with these products.

TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING: The establishment of a free, public, website containing full disclosure of all Federal contract award information.

CONSUMER PROTECTIONS FOR AMERICAN AIR TRAVELERS: New action to strengthen the rights of air travelers in the event of oversales, flight cancellations and long delays, and to ensure that passengers have accurate and adequate information to make informed decisions when selecting flights.

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Chart of the day.

From Nate Silver

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...from Dr. Maddow.
Frankly, establishing a government in a foreign country isn't a military objective. It just isn't.
Nope, it's not.

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Worth repeating.

A reminder from Allen W. Smith, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Eastern Illinois University...

Social Security has not contributed a dime to the budget deficits or the soaring national debt. Social Security is funded exclusively by payroll taxes (also known as FICA taxes), paid into the fund by working Americans.

Rinse, repeat, etc.

Hat tip to Stephen Suh.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Still hoppin'!

Happy 8th blogiversary to Skippy The Bush Kangaroo.

Eight years in the blogosphere sounds like an eternity, and closing in on seven years myself, I can tell you it ain't easy. Even harder to do it as well as Skippy and his pals. Congrats!

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Because I can't resist this stuff...

...I ran my 4th of July post through their thingamabob...

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

As in artfully unintelligible? Respected but not read? What?

I'll take it as a compliment, as I suppose it's intended.

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AP - Eight American troops died in attacks in southern Afghanistan, including a car bombing and gunfight outside a police compound in Kandahar, officials said Wednesday as the Taliban push back against a coalition effort to secure the volatile region.
They don't want us there. Fine. Let's leave.

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From the "Since you asked…" file.

Steve Benen wonders...
Honestly, what's to be done when an entire political party buys a first class ticket to Bizarro World?
Since you asked, it's simple...

Not easy, mind you, but simple.

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Sounds like someone else…

…has "outlived his usefulness." Via Salon...
Dick Morris, the former political adviser to President Bill Clinton who turned his back on Democrats and embraced conservatives, is raising money for Republican Sharron Angle's Senate bid.
I'll contemplate forgiving Clinton for Morris just as soon as I get over the whole Gore/Lieberman thing.

Don't hold your breath.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

From the "Things to do" file.

Via John Cole...
...Feingold’s office number is (202) 224-5323. Please call his staff and ask them to map out the strategy for a better financial regulations bill in 2011 with 6 fewer Democratic Senators and up to 40 fewer Democratic members of the House.

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Quote of the day.

Chris Demeur...
"Procedures weren't properly implemented" is, it seems, BP's company motto.
The coverage of the gulf clean up at Demeur, by the way, informed by Chris's experience as a hazardous materials professional, is on my 'can't miss' list, and I recommend it for yours.

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From the "Good causes" file.

Blue Gal's got the tip jar out. I mention this because indie bloggers have to stick together in these troubled times, and her unique blend of insight, passion and mad Photoshop skills make Fran one of the best and an invaluable resource for me. If you've got a few bucks to invest in the blogosphere this month, Blue Gal's the place to put it.

Besides, there's the ice cream issue. Do it for The Children®.

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Poll of the day.

Via Matt Yglesias

Since the "progressive" label has been adopted by folks ranging from the DLC to Dennis Kucinich to mean, well, anything they want it to mean, it's not surprising that folks would be confused about whether they are one.

Of course, as Yglesias points out, there's plenty of confusion about "liberal" and "conservative" as well, but I think that's based more on ignorance than the genuine puzzlement that attaches to "progressive."

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chart of the day.

Via Susie Madrak at Crooks & Liars...

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(insert clever title here)

Ten more from the randomizer...
Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away
Art Neville - Cha Dooky-Doo
Big Mike Griffin - Working Is The Curse Of The Drinking Classes
Lovin' Spoonful - Daydream
Brenton Wood - The Oogum Boogum Song
Cannibal & The Headhunters - Land Of 1000 Dances
Mike Seeger - Hello Stranger
The Cascades - Rhythm Of The Rain
Lucinda Williams - Positively Fourth Street
The Capitols - Cool Jerk

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Friday, July 09, 2010

It's a dilemma…

…but I'll stick with the horn I came in on. driftglass
Those are the choices: A Democratic Party which depends on us for everything they have, which is still shot through with decent, honorable, hard-working men and women, and which nonetheless still treats us like a smelly hobo to whom they occasionally feel obliged to toss a bone...and a Republican Party now wholly captive to outright psychotics and which sees us as internal enemies to be wiped out.
Not a happy choice, perhaps, but not a hard one, either.

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

I could have told you that…

…but it's good to hear it from a federal court - a Nixon appointee, no less.
DOMA fails to pass constitutional muster even under the highly deferential rational basis test. As set forth in detail below, this court is convinced that "there exists no fairly conceivable set of facts that could ground a rational relationship" between DOMA and a legitimate government objective. DOMA, therefore, violates core constitutional principles of equal protection.
The Justice Department needs to leave it there. With a ruling in hand, there's no further obligation to test or defend the statute.

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On a local note...'s ninety-sumpin' freaking degrees. Go outside!

(May I recommend the patio at the perfect tavern?)

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

From the "Since you asked…" file.

Over at Balloon Juice, mistermix inquires...
...could it be that the reason Russ Feingold is in trouble is that he’s an unpalatable mix of trimmer and righteous prig?
Since you asked, yes, it could.

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Quote of the day.

Colonel Douglas Macgregor, USA (Ret.)…
"Most Americans have no military experience. They tend to impute to anyone wearing stars a degree of competence and courage associated with battle-hardened leaders of the Second World War or the Korean conflict. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Hat tip to Pat Lang.

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Good question...

…from a slightly R-rated dog blog.

Couldn't resist...

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Dear neigbor...

...pretty lights in the sky, good. Strings of firecrackers and other whistly bangy things, not so much.

Damn, I'm getting old.

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Just the facts…

…no fun. Via John Gabree...
Marine Cpl. Jacob C. Leicht of Kerrville, Texas, the 1,000th American serviceman killed in Afghanistan, would have turned 25 this July 4.

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I guess it's a tradition now.

I wrote this in 2004. I've posted it every 4th of July since. My circumstances have changed a bit - once again I'm working rather than marching on the 4th - but my sentiments are, if anything, even stronger with the sad addition of thousands of new names we must celebrate on behalf of because they sacrificed on behalf of us.
I was a soldier once…

...and one of the lasting effects has been to make Independence Day a bit more meaningful to me. 33 years ago today I was on a plane bound for the air base in Bien Hoa, Vietnam. We took off on July 3 and about 24 hours later, landed on July 5. That year, there was no Independence Day for me. The international date line swallowed the 4th of July whole.

A year later, I celebrated the 4th as a civilian for the first time in three years, and every year since, it's given me pause as I've reflected on that trans-Pacific voyage and the events that followed. I served at a time when the war was over for a lot of people - people who accepted Nixon's strategy of slow withdrawal. Thousands were coming home, after all. Still, many of us were still going over. We were the 'left overs,' the 'clean up crew.' We were the men John Kerry was speaking for in his famous Senate testimony, the ones who risked being among the last to die for a war that had by then been widely recognized as a mistake.

Today, the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left and I journeyed across the county to visit the traveling reproduction of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, commonly known as The Wall. As I walked along the panels carrying the 58,228 names of those who died in Vietnam, the black tablets grew larger, and at the very apex, filling three of the tallest panels, I found the names of those who died while I was in country. Hundreds and hundreds of names. Among them the name of one of my basic training sergeants. A case, I prayed, of mistaken identity, hoping, but not at all certain, that there must have been another Sgt. Luis Campos, and the gruff bear of a man that taught me to use a rifle with confidence and a bayonet with ferocity retired comfortably without facing another tour in Vietnam.

Whether he was my Sgt. Campos or not isn't so important, really. I was lucky. My battalion took losses, but my company came through unscathed. I saw bodies, but not of those I knew best, those I called friends. Still, each of the names on that wall, and especially on those three tall, silent panels, was more than a stranger. They were, they are, my brothers, every one.

I missed a 4th of July in 1971. They've missed every one since. Tomorrow, I'll put on a uniform and travel north to parade with a veteran's drill team in a small town celebration, and come home to burn some meat and drink some beer with my family. It's bound to be a good day. I have 58,228 reasons to celebrate, because they can't, and I owe them.

Happy 4th.

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Got ten if you want 'em...

...or if you don't for that matter. Another batch from the randomizer...
Allen Toussaint - Yes We Can Can
Guy Clark - Dancin' Days
Donovan - Catch The Wind
Lulu - He's Sure The Boy I Love
Freeloader - Renee
The Gibson Brothers - The Way I Feel
Charlie Walker - Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Lucy Kaplansky - (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding
Carl McVoy - Born To Lose
Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers - Goodbye Booze

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Chart of the day.

Via Jed Lewison...

No, we're no where near where we want to be. We're not even close to where we need to be. We're a lot closer, though, and a helluva lot better off, than we were.

It's worth keeping that in mind when the reports aren't rosy.

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Quote of the day.

The lovely and talented Senator Lindsey Graham...
“I got comfortable with Bush. I’m not comfortable with Obama.”
I'm comfortable with that.

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

A reminder...

...from DKH at Shoreline Area News.
The deadline for mail–in and online voter registrations and transfers deadline is July 19, 2010. For information about voter registration call 206-296-VOTE, or visit the King County Records and Elections website .
Remember, if you're not registered, you're not relevant.

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Thank you, Senator Cantwell…

…for taking a principled stand to make the financial reg bill better, and for recognizing the time to do what can be done.
WASHINGTON—Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) said in an interview Thursday she would vote for the financial-overhaul bill when lawmakers return from the July 4th recess, bringing the White House to the verge of the 60 Senate votes it needs to ensure passage.

It's not often enough that a Senatorial quotation actually sounds like a grown-up talking...
"While we can't do everything, what we can do is make sure we have a law on the books to take the $600 trillion derivatives market and shine a very bright light on it."
So, thanks again, Maria, for your hard work, your wise vote and for, once again, making me proud of my representation in the other Washington.

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It's been hard to resist…

…abandoning my general dislike for what the initiative system has become. Taxing the rich, legal pot and Costco vodka all have their appeal. Still, if that's what the people want, there's nothing in any of them that couldn't be accomplished by a more courageous and representative legislature, and an engaged electorate pressuring them to do the people's business as the people see fit. It's called "representative democracy" and I'm old-fashioned enough to think it's worth a try.

It's kind of reassuring, then, to see big oil lining up behind Tim Eyman's latest tax craziness. The Big Oil Initiative (that's what we're going to call it, right?) should be a big enough target for my hostility that even if I can't bring myself to wave the flag for the apparently good guys, I can leave 'em mostly alone.

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