Saturday, May 17, 2008

Politics Is...

"...the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.." ~Groucho Marx

Teddy Kennedy

Update: It was a seizure, so far cause unknown.

NPR is reporting he has had a stroke and was rushed to a hospital this morning. He is 76.

From Reuters:

Kennedy had preventive surgery in Boston in October to unclog a partially blocked carotid artery in his neck.

The blockage was discovered during a routine check of Kennedy's back and spine, doctors said. A blocked carotid artery can lead to a stroke and death, they said.

Kennedy has suffered from back problems since a plane crash in 1964 in which the pilot and one of Kennedy's aides were killed and the senator was pulled from the wreckage with a back injury, punctured lung, broken ribs and internal bleeding.

The youngest brother of assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1962 and currently serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

He helped win an increase in the national minimum wage this year and worked with Republicans to produce broad immigration reform, which failed in the Senate after stiff opposition from conservative Republicans. (Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jackie Frank)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Fear Of Failure?

Consider this.

Bad, Bad Media

So it probably won't make p. D12 (okay, it probably will, but still) the Senate today reversed the controversial FCC ruling allowing more media consolidation.
I don't think it's a cure all for what ails the public conversation, but people smarter than me think it's necessary. Likely to make it in the House as well. Bush, of course, promises veto.
Good, short summary on what it all means here.

Drinking Game

From Porchow over at TPM on the story of McCain's past position on talking to Hamas, an apparent contradiction to the now-running "appeasement" narrative:

My friends and I have a drinking game. Whenever we see the headline "McCain Responds to Hypocrisy Accusation" we have to stop whatever we're doing and take a shot of tequila. So far, three of us have ended up in rehab, 2 are in jail and and one is on YouTube dancing in his underwear in a supermarket.

The evidence:

God, I miss Hillary already. There's just no challenge in this general election campaign.

Oh, speaking of Hillary, What Went Wrong is a short, readable piece based on anonymous campaign insiders, in the New Republic.


"There were a number of people who advised the Clinton campaign back in the spring of '07 that this could easily become a longer battle--a war of attrition. She needed to build a broad base of supporters beyond the virtually limitless number of Clinton friends and supporters who they counted on to not only max out, but to use their not inconsiderable Rolodexes to help her. That would have been fine if this thing had ended Super Tuesday. It didn't, and she ran out of money."

But I figure what went wrong is that she lost me. 'Cuz it's all about me, me, me. (snark)

Truth Or Dare

Okay, so I haven't the faintest idea whether this comment at Wonkette is true or not and I'm not going to research it either. This is a blog after all.
But I want it to be true so I'm republishing it.
At his third press conference, President Reagan responds to the following:
· The Israeli attack on Iraq - "I can't answer that"
· Israels' refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty - "Well, I haven't given very much thought to that particular question there"
· Pakistan's refusal to sign the treaty - "I won't answer the last part of that question"
· Israeli threats against Lebanon - "Well, this is going to be one, I'm afraid, that I can't answer now"
· The tactics of political action committees - "I don't really know how to answer that."
When faced with skepticism about his administration's grasp of foreign affairs, the President declares "I'm satisfied that we do have a foreign policy."

And how come Wonkette is the only one of my favorites to pick up on this giant McCain re-write of documented Reagan/Iran history, anyway? What's with that? TPM, I'm looking at you. Kos? Anybody?

Well, thanks to The Google, I find Think Progress wrote about it. Maybe I'll have to put them on my list.
So, if your memory is kind of poor about all of that stuff 20 or more years ago:

McCain’s praise of Ronald Reagan is wholly misplaced. To recap, during the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, hostages (held by Hezbollah) were not released because of Iran’s fear of Reagan, as McCain suggested. In reality, Iran released them after Reagan administration officials infamously sold arms to the country, which were transfered to Ayatollah Khomeini. As a result, 11 Reagan officials were convicted of crimes.

Furthermore, Reagan did not have to “negotiate” with Iran during the hostage crisis of the 1970s because he wasn’t involved in it. The extensive negotiations with Iran were done before his presidency. In fact, Reagan’s inauguration occurred only minutes before the hostages were released.

McCain should take note of what Reagan said in 1981: “Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will.”

(It should be noted —so I'm noting — that theories that Reagan campaign officials actually prevailed upon the Iranians to hold back on releasing the hostages that they held until inauguration day Jan. 19, 1981, has been pretty thoroughly debunked. Commenters seem to agree that the Iranians purposely did it to embarrass Carter as he left office, after his envoy Warren Christopher, had succeeded in negotiating the release.)

Oh, I know. It's hard enough remembering who all the neocons are, much less the crimes of past administrtions.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Iraq War

Just so you know, a little reminder from Daily Kos today.
Estimated number of Iraqis still in exile outside their country, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: 2.5 million.

Number of Iraqi refugees admitted into the United States since March 2003: 5675

Number of Iraqi refugees admitted into Sweden in the same period: 90,000.

The Smart Drug

One man's experience. Fairly short, decide for yourself.

Quote O' Teh Day

All's Well That Ends Well

We seem to have arrived at an equitable compromise: Sen. Clinton is staying in the nomination race while Sen. Obama drops out to move on to the general.

--Josh Marshall

John Edwards: AG or VP

He's said publicly he wouldn't be vp, but that was a while ago. Now, according to the Huffpo, the NYT is reporting that he'd be interested in an AG or VP spot. Not surprising.

Send NARAL Some Love

Formerly known as the National Abortion Rights Action League, it has been taking some severe flak from female Clinton supporters for their endorsement yesterday of Barack Obama.
NARAL said it took the action because it was clear Obama was going to be the nominee and it hoped to help heal the divisions that have split female Clinton supporters and African Americans.
I hope they can do that, but the vitriol in comments on their Web site is pretty remarkable. I stopped reading after awhile, and as a 'sphere veteran, I've got a strong stomach.
What really got me though was hearing Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz on the News Hour last night warning in a very stern voice that NARAL would be subject to severe retaliation for the "betrayal."
W-S herself is not exactly a clean pol, she's been under fire in from progressives for refusing to support two liberal Democrats running against Republican incumbents in her home state of Florida because, she says, the Florida delegation values its collegial relationships.
Anyway, I sent NARAL a small check and a supportive note. You can go here to do either or both.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

After The Rain

Edwards It Is

Confirmation that Edwards will endorse Obama on stage in my hometown of Grand Rapids, MI, tonight just warms the cockles. Or whatever.
"Working Americans, hardworking Americans, white Americans," as Hillary put it not too long ago.

Something to Think About

I'm never going to read Sidney Blumenthal's book The Strange Death of Republican America, so I'm glad I read Scott Horton's interview with him.
It's a bit of a slog for a blog, but insightful regarding the Democratic congressional dysfunction and liberal notions about things like the youth vote.
I should note, too, that Blumenthal is also the Hillary campaign operative who daily sends out to the press anti-Obama items, many unsubstantiated stuff from right-wing sources. He is unapologetic about it, but many former fans find it reprehensible.
Nevertheless, he's got a valuable take on things.
ush, Cheney, et al. sought to create an unaccountable and unfettered executive. In order to do that they kept the Congress under their heel (when Republican) and at bay (when Democratic), as well as exploiting and intimidating a craven and status-driven national press corps. Following the dictum that people are policy, Bush & Co. used the power of presidential appointment to fill the administration with more than loyal Republicans. Bush built a regime, not just an administration. For example, the appointments of Federalist Society lawyers from the commanding heights of the Department of Justice to counsel offices of every department and agency was intended to install cadres of a new ideological clerisy. Professional standards have been construed as mere instrumentalities of conscious “liberal’ ideology, a counterpoint and obstacle to power. Cherry-picking information to support a priori political conclusions has pervaded government methodology from intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to climate change.

Once again, a new government would have to have extensive understanding of the federal apparatus in order to reconstruct it. The Congress cannot do the job, even if it conducted the most far-reaching investigative hearings and maintained diligent oversight. Only a president can truly fix the executive branch. The Bush model of a president who casts himself as a big picture man, while dependent on advisers for working the actual machinery, inevitably leads to a president who would soon find himself in control of neither.

27 Pantsuits

I'm sorry, I have to send you to Wonkette for this.
But it's worth it, second photo from top.

P.S. If anybody finds a picture of this woman somewhere besides Getty Images, send me a link.


Huffpo thought this was important. Do you? Me? Nah.

John Edwards to Endorse Obama?

That's the scuttlebutt out in the 'spere about a major announcement to take place at 4 p.m. EST.


First, McAuliffe put it out there. Then Rendell. Both campaign insiders.
Exit polling shows about 60 percent of Dems want Hillary for V.P.
(Exit polls suck, btw. They also show a disturbing number of Dems of both sides refusing to vote for the other if s/he wins the nomination.) NPR's promoting a story on it today.
So, here's M.J. Rosenberg's take on it, in short.
My only concern is that Obama win. If it takes Hillary to do it, that is what I'm for. I'm a liberal, obviously, and prefer a more progressive type.
But if Obama has to go the center right Evan Bayh route, I'd prefer a Hillary because she will energize women voters, and plenty of others who just like her. My real choice would be one of the 22 senators who voted "no" on the war. For me, the war vote was the #1 test of leadership and character.
I admit I'm torn. Will all those women really rally only if it's Hillary? I must run with the wrong crowd.
Plus, how betrayed will blacks and Obamaniacs feel if the woman they've begun to hate gets a prize for her misbehavior?
I won't like it one bit, but it won't keep me from voting. Can't say for the others.
Oh, and then there's the Bill factor, and the Clinton regime thing overshadowing the new president. And the R base that might actually vote to defeat a Clinton. I dunno. I don't like even more now.

Polar Bear Officially Endangered

I try not to put too many causes on this blog. I don't have time, and neither do you.
But the good guys won a big one this time.
Besides, it is related to climate change, so it fits.

Oops, not so fast. They're "threatened," not endangered. And the pro-bear groups say the whole ruling is full of loopholes and was just concocted to meet tomorrow's court deadline demanding a decision.

But my daughter tells me she saw a nature show on TV that showed how polars are learning to catch salmon, an activity that may spare at least some of them starvation when they seals become impossible to hunt because of lack of ice.
So, how long do the salmon last? Haven't seen anything on that.

NARAL Endorses Obama

They said the board decided to back Obama over Clinton because he is overwhelmingly favored to win the nomination and to heal what the organization viewed as a growing rift between black voters and white female activists that the protracted Clinton-Obama contest may have caused.

Yeah, I haven't forgotten what Hillary's people pulled in New Hampshire either.

ACLU Gets More Torture Docs

NEW YORK - The American Civil Liberties Union has obtained previously withheld documents from the Defense Department, including internal investigations into the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody overseas. Uncensored documents released as a result of the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit shed light on the deaths of detainees in Iraq and internal disagreement within the military over harsh interrogation practices used at Guantánamo Bay.

"These documents provide further evidence that the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody abroad was not aberrational, but was widespread and systemic," said Amrit Singh, a staff attorney with the ACLU. "They only underscore the need for an independent investigation into high-level responsibility for prisoner abuse."

Read the whole thing here. And join. These folks are working for us.

Playing With Food

You'll have to go to the NYT site to see what I'm talking about, but it's worth it. N.B. Not gross. Pretty.

FISA Again, Again, Again

Steny Hoyer (House whip or something) and a key Republican senator are "talking" about the R's proposed FISA fix, which you and I both know will include immunity for the telecoms who helped the administration spy on us.
So, here's a petition, again, again, again.


Do you have an obsessive desire for cool things that are cheap. Or do you just appreciate good humor writing? Either or both, you'll find it here.


t’s spring. Things are warming up. People are wearing less and less everywhere you go. And your mind is firmly in the gutter.

All those leaves to clean, all that wet mulch and strange molds and maybe a venomous millipede with a rifle. You don’t want to go up there. You certainly don’t want to pay a stranger. And your kid’s been at a slumber party for a week. They always know, those kids.

But never you fear, because if your gutter fits well against this template, the iRobot Looj will be there to fulfill Issac Asimov’s dream. No, it doesn’t have breasts, that was Heinlein’s dream. Pick up a book, jerkface.

This recertified iRobot Looj is a little bot with only one prime directive: to clear your gutter. The Looj moves both forward and backward and has a three stage auger that spins in both directions. You keep the remote. Rebellion is impossible!

No, they don't pay me, it's just one of my favorite sites. There are plenty of user comments to guide your buying decision. I have bought a video and digital still camera, and both the robotic vacuum and floor scrubber and am delighted with all four.

I never get there in time for the $1 bag-o-crap, though. Sigh.

One item, one day, when they're sold out, they're sold out. Refurbished is your friend.

Hope Index Rising?

Travis Childers apparently isn't what you or I might call a "better" Democrat (as in "elect more and better Democrats," as in "Ah'm pro-loff and pro-gun"), but it's Mississippi for god's sake, and he just beat a Republican in a deeply red district by more than 7 points, a district that went 67 percent for George Bush last time.
This is the third deeply red seat the R's have lost in special elections this year, the second in which a 527 tried to use Rev. Wright against the Democrat and failed, and the first in which the R's can't legitimately claim they had a bad candidate.
This gives me more hope than I had yesterday.

Oops, it was 62 percent, not 67 percent.
Josh Marshall of TPM notes there are 25 open House seats this year, meaning no incumbent problem to factor in.
Here's his good, short video report.

McCain in W. Va.

Got fewer votes than Obama.
Obama got 91,652 votes vs. McCain's 89,683 votes.
Huckabee got 15 percent, Paul 5 percent and 9 percent are unaccounted for on the CNN primary report. Go figure.
I guess Edwards got about 7 percent among the Dems, since their totals add up to 93 percent.

Somebody Named Rosemary Watson

does a mean Hillary Show, especially the voice.

From Dana Milbank at the Washington Post:
2:57 p.m., Yeager Airport, Charleston, W.Va.: A steep descent brings Clinton's plane to Charleston's hilltop airport. After an appropriate wait, she steps from the plane and pretends to wave to a crowd of supporters; in fact, she is waving to 10 photographers underneath the airplane's wing. She pretends to spot an old friend in the crowd, points and gives another wave; in fact, she was waving at an aide she had been talking with on the plane minutes earlier.

Want Real Political Change?

Kneel before Zod.

War Crimes

Torture is illegal. Period.
While the news media are busy telling us all what we knew was going to happen before it happened — Hillary wins West Virginia — three lawyers with impeccable credentials were testifying before a Congressional committee about the administration's policies and the individuals responsible for them and thus subject to investigation and prosecution.
If you missed Phillipe Sands' interview on Bill Moyers, here's a 5-minute clip of his testimony.
His new book is called Torture Team. Bottom line: there should be investigations, something Obama has said he would initiate.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Women's Voices Women Vote

Guess what? Yeah, that's right, they're still at it.
The following is the latest installment in the ongoing controversy surrounding Women's Voices Women Vote, first surfaced at Facing South and DailyKos two weeks ago. We believe the following piece is important because it confirms that, contrary to the claims of WVWV and several of its defenders, the voter confusion resulting from WVWV's tactics is not the product of a "mistake" or isolated error, but the predictable result of a conscious strategy. -- Chris and Sue, Facing South

Horse O' Teh Day

Apache by Kerstin Stelter

Monday, May 12, 2008

MoveOn's Obama Ad

Will run in Ohio, Wisconsin and Colorado. The progressive activist organization, formed to defend Clinton during the Lewinsky years, and honed on the Dean campaign, held a contest. I watched all 10 finalists, and agree this was one of the best.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Liddy Dole

is in trouble in North Carolina. Forgot she was still around, didn't you?

Women's Voices Women Vote

Still fucking up elections and confusing — female! — voters in primary states.
What's left to say? They do it, they claim they didn't mean to, and they do it again.
Twelve states so far.
Oh, and their Clinton ties are pretty much documented at this point.

Oh, Death

Nuala O'Faolain (Noola O FWAY lawn). Her last interview. One woman's end of life thoughts. She's frail, fragile, absolutely honest whether you want to hear it or not.
I couldn't help wanting to hear it.

No Treats At The End

A friend sends news that Nuala O’Faolain has died. At 68. Of lung cancer, Julimac!
I first heard her in an extended radio interview, probably on Fresh Air, after her memoir Are You Somebody? came out and her telling of her childhood life in Ireland was so compelling that I went out and bought it.
But as it turns out, the novel My Dream of You was much better.
Here's her summation of her lingering death from the last line in the Times obit:

“The world said to me, ‘That’s enough of you now, and what’s more, we’re not going to give you any little treats at the end.’ ”

Note To Readers

UPDATE II: It's erratic.
UPATE:Okay, all better now.

Blogger is funky this morning. I ran across a similar problem on Dave Postman's Seattle Times blog yesterday, but I don't think he's on blogger so it's probably not related.
Anyway, some of the photos are not publishing and help is inaccessible, probably because everybody and his brother is experiencing the same thing and overwhelming them.

Angelique? (trying to publish here as an experiment).