Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's way too late... come up with a witty intro. Here's the random ten...
Neil Young - Vampire Blues
Willie Nelson - On The Road Again
Charlie Rich - Sittin' And Thinkin'
Ronnie Bowman - Jailhouse Blues
Rod Stewart - The Motown Song
Red Horse - Blue Chalk
Dave Alvin - Highway 61 Revisited
Ray Price - Crazy Arms
Wilson Pickett - Hey Jude
The Penguins - Earth Angel

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Friday, July 29, 2011

From the "Since you asked…" file.

Steve Benen inquires...
How big is the House GOP’s sane contingent?
Since you asked, not big enough to govern.

Not big enough to justify the party's continued existence, for that matter.

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Lucky ducky of the day.

Dan Savage...
Hey, I was "denounced by the GOP" today.
Color me green.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hammer, nail…

BANG! Rumproast nails one...
John McCain, who is a “maverick” on the planet where “maverick” is synonymous with “weather vane...”

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Ya' think?

My own personal Congressman imagines the (hopefully distant) future…
"I suspect that when I decide I'm not gonna run, there will be a couple of people who are interested in my seat."
Good guess, Jim. Keep 'em waiting. I'm sure it builds character or something, and you're doing fine.

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…the whole truth and nothing but the truth, from the Once and Future Speaker...
"This isn't about deficit reduction, this is about dismantling the public sector."
Yes, it is.

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From the "Me too" file.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, on religious bigots in his party...
"It's just crazy, and I'm tired of dealing with the crazies."
Me too, though I'd revise and extend to include his party in general.

Including, of course, him.

Because, after all...

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It's a Locke.

Proving that, in fact, sometimes we can all get along, yesterday the Senate, without debate, unanimously confirmed Gary Locke as Ambassador to China.

I've known Gary long enough and well enough that it kind of feels like he's my own personal Ambassador, but I know it's great news for every American.

And your Senators, no matter who they may be, did the right thing. All of 'em. That's worth an 'atta-boy.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

From the "Not exactly news" file.

Liars lie.

Sleet? Snow? Dark of night? Trifles. Money, on the other hand...

They're crazy.

All things being equal, things aren't...

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

John Boehner is half right…erm…half correct...
"I can’t do this job unless you’re behind me.”

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From the "Me too" file.

Tommy T...
I personally think that "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" would make an excellent Michele Bachmann entrance song.
Me too.

Tip o' the camo sombrero to Fixer.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

From the "Try, try again" file.

Latest Republican Immigration Bill “Almost too Absurd to Take Seriously”
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, so I'm sure they're disappointed, but the Republicans are well on their way to completely ridiculous. I'm confident they'll get there unless we get them out of there.

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OK, this is a problem, too...

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), to Chris Matthews...

MATTHEWS: ...You want the Democratic Senate, by a two-thirds vote, to pass a constitutional amendment or you want the house to come down?

LEE: Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying and I’ve been saying this for six months.
They're mad as hell.

Not angry mad, crazy mad.

They'll tear down the house. They'll kill the hostages. They'll eat the dogs and sell the kids.

But they won't raise taxes on millionaires.

Like I keep saying...

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Monday, July 25, 2011

The problem…

…isn't the relative quality of the Democratic spine, or President Obama's facility at negotiation, or who or what is right or wrong. Here, via Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), is the problem...
"It has always been a straight up or down vote. The new leadership in the House has decided that they want to add some budget cuts or other considerations to this vote, because that is their preference, and they are the leadership, so we are in this quagmire."
As far as the debt ceiling is concerned, we have a problem because the Republicans decided they wanted a problem. You might ask why, but the important question is what, as in what is "the single most important thing" they want to achieve. That's the lens to view every Republican action and statement through.

They call it politics. Some, to coin a phrase, call it treason.

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Happy Monday!

Clinton confident...

NFL optimistic...

…and there's heartwarming news from hither and yon.

Feel better now?

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

From the "Why not Washington?" file,

Wouldn't something like this look great at Grand Coulee?

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hey kids, what time is it?

It's random ten time! Here's one for the peanut gallery...
The Chambers Brothers - Time Has Come Today
Lyle Lovett - That's Right (You're Not From Texas)
Tammy Wynette - Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come
The Beau Brummels - Just A Little
Waylon Jennings - Let's All Help The Cowboys (Sing The Blues)
Caitlin Rose - Answer In One Of These Bottles
Wilco - I Wanna Be Sedated
Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks - Milk Shakin' Mama
Son Volt - Windfall

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Friday, July 22, 2011

A reminder…

…from Jonathan Bernstein.
Remember, almost all of what we're seeing is either bargaining, spin, or some other form of posturing or misinformation. That's not bad -- but it is what it is, and there's no point in pretending that it's anything else.
If you think you know what's going to happen based on what they're - no matter who "they" are - saying, you should probably keep a good recipe for crow pie handy.

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Dear Senator Sanders,

I'm a fan. You're great on the radio and you're right (that is, I agree with you) about many things. I'm glad you're a Senator and hope you keep your job as long as you want it.

That being said, you're not a member of my political party, and the business of nominating our presidential candidate is, therefore, none of your business. We can create all the trouble we can handle internally. Please don't feed the trolls.


Upper Left

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Jesus loves manatees.

Me too. I mean, if they were worth putting on the ark, they're worth protecting, right?

Hat tip to Blue Gal.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Don't know much about history…

…don't know much about, well, anything, really. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)...
"The only thing I know is the Cut, Cap and Balance plan."
At least he hasn't let the facts confuse him.

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Jed Lewison...
Tim Pawlenty says he has the courage to stand up for his convictions. But Tim Pawlenty begs to differ.

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From the "Strange bedfellows" file.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is Rep. Allen West's representative in Congress.

I don't suppose he voted for her, though.

I know it's legal, but it's hardly a common, or, IMO,a particularly desirable, situation. Anybody know how many members other than West live outside the district they represent?

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From the "Signs of the times" file.

On Wisconsin!

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It's one of those days…

…that seems to offer more good questions than good answers. Susie Madrak, with another of the former...

You all keep talking about "shared sacrifice" and "belt-tightening" when there's an 16% or so effective unemployment rate, wages are continuing their 30-year decline, jobs are non-existent and millions have lost their homes. For far too many of us, if we tighten our belts any more, we'll break our backs!

Meanwhile, Wall Street is doing better than ever.

In what universe is this "shared" sacrifice?

I dunno. Which universe did Kafka write about?

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Regarding Rep. Bachmann…

…it's not the headaches she has, it's the headaches she'd cause that bother me.

They don't bother me much, though, because Michele Bachmann will never, ever be President of the United States, though the Republicans might nominate anything these days.

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Good question.

From Blue Gal...
I want to know from every Republican member of the House: What are you doing for the unemployed people in your district?
I'd like to hear the answer from Democrats too, for that matter.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From the "Not exactly news" file.

Republicans don't know what to do next.

What they're doing is bad enough.

What can you expect from crooks, liars and bullies?

Sometimes Democrats are "not helpful."

Sometimes they're not even Democrats.

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From the "Me too" file.

Elisabeth Warren...
"I’m saving all the rocks in my pocket for Republicans.”
Me too.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Well, that's one reason.

Maybe not even the best one, but certainly sufficient. John Amato...
Lindsey Graham compares America to Greece which is why he shouldn't be taken seriously
I admit that just looking at him has always worked for me.

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From the "Me neither" file.

Chris Bowers...
As you read this, rich and powerful people in Washington, DC are trying to determine not whether they should cut programs designed to help low and middle-income Americans, but by how much they should cut those programs. The rich and powerful people in DC are making these cuts in order to pay for tax breaks they recently gave to rich people and large corporations. Additionally, the cuts are being made at the behest of the lobby organizations and media operations owned by rich people and large corporations.

If that isn't a class war, I don't know what is.
Me neither.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

ran·dom (adjective)

1. without pattern - done, chosen, or occurring without an identifiable pattern, plan, system, or connection
Ten examples...
Buck Owens - Hello Trouble
Marvin Gaye - His Eyes Are On The Sparrow
Bill Chambers - I Drink
The Flying Burrito Brothers - Dark End Of The Street
Nick Lowe - House For Sale
Susan Tedeschi - Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
Atlanta Rhythm Section - So Into You
John Hartford - Back In The Goodle Days
Steve Forbert - Romeo's Tune
The Young Rascals - Groovin'

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Friday, July 15, 2011

From the "Math is hard" file.

While Dave Reichert gathers bouquets for his bold break with his caucus over the twisted light bulb issue, when you do the math the valor of the deed seems somewhat diminished.

With the measure falling over 50 votes short of passage, it didn't much matter what he did, and his sponsors understand that once in awhile Dave's gotta take one of those votes to keep the tree huggers at bay.

Dave Reichert - The man to count on when it doesn't count.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hammer, nail…

…BANG! James Fallows passes along a note from a reader...
All you have to do is ask yourself, "What would that sneaky little two-faced twerp Eddie Haskell do in this situation?" And the answer will never be far from Cantor's behavior.
It works!

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Time's a wastin'!

Just in case you've changed addresses in the last 48 hours, or turned 18 yesterday, or have some undoubtedly similarly good reason for not being registered to vote, you have until Monday, July 18 to fill out a paper form and mail it in or register online in order to vote in this year's primary election.

Voting's not a privilege, it's a right. It's not a choice, it's a duty. If you need to, get registered.

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My money comes and goes…

…and rolls and goes and flows
Through the holes in the pockets of my clothes…

Wonder where it ends up?
New data released by the IRS reveals that, over a period of 12 years, tax rates for the richest 400 Americans were effectively cut in half. In 1995, the richest 400 Americans paid, on average, 29.93% of their income in federal taxes. In 2007, the last year for which the IRS has released data, the richest 400 Americans paid just 16.63%.

In 1995, just 12 of the 400 richest Americans paid an effective tax rat of between zero and 15%. By 2007, that number skyrocketed to over 150. The massive reduction is due to both Bush-era tax reductions for the wealthy and the aggressive exploitation of tax dodges and shelters.
Damn right it's a class war, and "don't retreat, reload" is starting to sound like good, if still figurative, advice.

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A koan...

...for John Boehner, via Scott Nance...
What’s the point of being speaker if you’re not truly in charge of the House?

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If you're still wondering...

...where the money went, here's another hint, via Mary at The Left Coaster...

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Chart of the day.

Via Nate Silver...

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Survey says…

...we're right, they're wrong.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From the "Not exactly news" file.

You can fool some of the people...

Stupidity has consequences.

Eric Cantor is a bad sport.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So, if all we get out of the deal... an increase in the debt ceiling, isn't that pretty much all we wanted?

Might be something to that mulit-dimensional chess stuff after all...

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Am I an Obamabot?


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A confession.

I'm a wine snob. I don't drink much wine these days, because I don't drink plonk and I can't afford the wines I love, which tend to be things like ancient Ports, aged Brunellos and, yes, $350 Burgundies. Thus, I tend more toward envy than outrage over the bottle spotted on Paul Ryan's dinner table recently. I can only hope he has the palate to appreciate it.

Still, it was outrageous, and DougJ focuses on the why...
But Paul Ryan was drinking $350 wine with a hedge fund guy while scheming to funnel Medicare money into tax cuts for hedge fund guys, and the hedge fund guy was paying for the bottle!

That’s bribery, plain and simple.
It ain't the wine, it's the why.

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An Upper Left endorsement.

Since Rob McKenna chased him out of the governor's race, one of the most prominent names being floated as a possible Republican opponent for Senator Maria Cantwell is Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant. Bryant, meanwhile is on the re-election campaign trail, courting the local Teapublican outfit, the Shoreline Caucus.

A Teapublican Senator for Washington? Bad idea. A Teapublican Port Commissioner in King County? Just as bad.

Bryant's Port Commission opponent, Dean Willard, has been endorsed by ten 12 Democratic Legislative District organizations.

And me.

Get to know him better.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Chart of the day.

Via The Maddow Blog...

If you think the system is working, ask someone who isn't.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011


Crystal. Mark Sumner
There is no fiscal crisis. Everyone should be clear on that.

The United States is not bankrupt. Social Security is not about to founder. Wall Street is not on a precipice, the IMF is not standing by demanding massive shifts in our government, and U.S. bonds are not trading 1:1 with Charmin. There is nothing wrong.

Nothing except that the Republican Party is prepared to slice the nation's throat to get its way.
Nothing to add, except that...

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Seems to me…

…that you can get "several Republican and Democratic sources" to say just about anything, especially off the record.

Just sayin'...

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And now for something…

…pretty much the same as always. A random ten...
Johnny Winter - Highway 61 Revisited
Big Star - I'm In Love With A Girl
Matt Woods - No Beer In Heaven
Norman Blake - Last Train From Poor Valley
Sammy Davis, Jr. - Too Damn Hot
Neko Case - Thanks A Lot
Gene Pitney - Only Love Can Break A Heart
Marvin Gaye - At Last (I Found A Love)
Tim O'Brien - You Are My Flower
Syndicate Of Sound - Little Girl

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Friday, July 08, 2011

Chart of the day.

Via Ezra Klein...

Hat tip to Howie.

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From the "Me too" file.

I don't know anything about who Casey Anderson is or what she did or didn't do, and I don't know any good reason that I should. Life without cable can be very rewarding. As a matter of principle, though, I agree with Miami attorney Brian Tannebaum...
To all those asking what I think of the verdict? I think a jury of 12 people agreed the state didn't prove the case, and when 12 people can read instructions and evaluate evidence and come to a unanimous decision, I am happy that the Constitution is still a part of our system, no matter how many politicians and self hating lawyers try to tear it down.
Me too.

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Thursday, July 07, 2011


Crystal. Speaker-In-Waiting Nancy Pelosi
"We have been very clear Democrats are not supporting -- House Democrats are not supporting any cuts in benefits for Social Security or Medicare."

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From the "Bring it on!" file.

Via Brad Shannon at The Olympian...
State Republican Party chairman Kirby Wilbur spoke to reporters this morning in Washington about a new Republican-paid ad airing in 50 states that attacks President Obama’s record on the economy.

The Republican National Committee held press briefings with 13 states, including Washington. It and state Republican chairman Kirby Wilbur suggested the Evergreen State could be among the dozen or so battleground states for president in 2012 – despite Obama winning here by double-digits in 2008 over John McCain.

Among reasons for optimism: The governor’s race is expected to be close here with Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee the top candidates already announced. Republicans also hope to field a strong challenger to Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.
If the Republican National Committee's presidential strategy is to commit resources to my fair state, well, good on 'em. Republican dollars spent have as much stimulus effect as any dollars spent, and we can use the help, even if the money's ultimately wasted in the effort.

We will have an exceptional statewide ticket on the 2012 undercard. Senator Cantwell will be on the ballot, with Rep. Jay Inslee looking for a move back to this Washington and the Governor's mansion and my own personal King County Councilmember Bob Ferguson vying to become Attorney General. They're all organized and active more than a year out from the primary to the degree that their nominations are assumed by every observer I'm aware of as credible, if less impressive, challengers have opted out of the contests.

The retirement of Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed represents the end of an era of Republicanism in this state. He's really the last serving member of the generation of young reformists who followed Governor Daniel Evans (yeah, he served in the US Senate too, but he'll always be Governor Evans up here) into public life. One of Evans' most historically significant achievements was driving the John Birch Society out of the Washington State Republican Party. If today's Republicans were interested in a template for expunging its radical elements and reasserting it’s role in America's political mainstream, Dan Evans' success a half a century or so ago still merits study.

They aren't interested in any such a thing, of course, and therein lies the rub. Evans himself eventually found himself lost in a Republican Party that found itself increasingly in the thrall extremist ideologues and religious fundamentalists. Of course, the candidates that emerged from as they moved further and further to the fringe lost consistently and sometimes catastrophically. Republicans who actually cared about electoral success gathered under the banner of Mainstream Republicans, which apparently means Republicans who aren't necessarily (or even probably) "moderate," but who aren't completely bat guano crazy, either. Exhibit A in the 2012 field is Attorney General Rob McKenna, who will face Inslee for Governor.

The problem is that the current crop of Republican presidential aspirants looks a lot more like the parade of ideologues and fundies that have been such losers with the Washington electorate than it does like Rob Mckenna or his protégé, Reagan Dunn, who will be Ferguson's likely opponent. There's nobody in the Presidential crop likely to seek or deserve the mantle "mainstream." They aren't going to move for McKenna's benefit. It could be disastrous if he moved for theirs, but their supporters will be his base. It's a horny dilemma. Either McKenna runs without, if not against, his party's national ticket or he embraces the radicalism at the root of Republicanism and takes his place on the political scrap pile with the likes of Linda Smith and Ellen Craswell, not simply defeated, but discredited.

In either event, there's no value added there for Republican presidential prospects hereabouts, which are dismal even without one of the most impressive statewide Democratic fields in many years.

But, hey, RNC, bring it on! Spend, baby, spend!

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From the "Me neither" file.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee...
...Congressional Democrats are not going to support something that seeks to balance the budget on the backs of Social Security beneficiaries.
Me neither.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

... a lie about a lie, wrapped in a lie.

Yep, that's Mitt Romney.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

From the "Not exactly news" file.

Brian Sonntag likes his job.

Republicans are abnormal.

Rick Santorum is just plain stupid.

It's still best to be careful what you wish for.

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Monday, July 04, 2011

From the "Wonder where the money went?" file.

Another clue from the New York Times
The final figures show that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009.
These are the people who can't handle a tax hike?

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Once again…

…I'm posting my 4th of July memories, originally composed in 2004. It still says everything I want to say about the day.

This year I'm working instead of marching again, but I've invited a bunch of my musical buddies to come down and pick on the patio. Since the most appropriate marketing term for the mélange of pop, country, blues and bluegrass we're guilty of would be 'Americana,' a jam seems appropriate for the occasion.

It's the fortieth anniversary of the trip that inspired the post. Happy 4th to everyone and welcome home to all you old soldiers out there. Young ones, too.

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.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Dear Mike Allen...

If your lede begins with "President Bill Clinton says…," you're writing the wrong story.


Upper Left
And Bill, how can we miss you if you won't go away?

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

From the "Out of the frying pan" file.

Herman Cain's suffering some Newt-level staffing problems in early primary states, the latest being his Iowa Campaign Director, Tina Goff, and Straw Poll Coordiator Kevin Hall. Via Politico (my emphasis)...
Goff and Hall both worked on Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign in 2008 and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign in 2010. Goff stated that she resigned because the Cain campaign refused to make a serious effort in Iowa, the home of the First-in-the-Nation caucuses.
I guess a veteran of the Thompson "campaign" would know a non-serious effort when she sees it. I'm more impressed, though, by this note…
Cain has not yet released his quarterly fundraising numbers.
In politics, "refused to make a serious effort" sometimes translates to "won't work the damn phones."

Just sayin'...

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Ready, steady...

...random. Ten to see you through...
Jefferson Airplane - It's No Secret
Buddy Holly - Words Of Love
Led Zeppelin - Boogie With Stu
Cat Stevens - Can't Keep It In
John Prine - Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian
Emmylou Harris - Crescent City
Dean Martin & Rick Nelson - My Rifle, My Pony And Me
The Box Tops - The Letter
Judy Collins- Amazing Grace
Elvis Presley - I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Yes, it is.

Michael Tomasky on the Gridlock, Obstruction and Paralysis Party…
It is the party of debt. It is the party of deficits. It is the party of recession. It is the party of unemployment. It is the party of inequality. And it is the party of middle-class stagnation and slippage.
Yes, it is, which is why I keep telling you that…

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