Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Canada Not Allowed to Send Foreign Aid to Louisiana and Mississippi

Canadian search and rescue has offered to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, but Bush is not allowing them to send aid to the victims of this disaster.
Paul Martin is reportedly trying to speak to President Bush tonight or tomorrow to ask him why the U.S. federal government will not allow aid from Canada into Louisiana and Mississippi.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Juan Cole on the Iraqi Constitution

A must read for anyone who wants to understand what has happened here.
So they had the ceremony, and the drafting committee (minus Sunni Arab members) presented the final draft of the permanent Iraqi constitution to parliament on Sunday. But parliament did not vote on it. The Sunni Arabs did not attend. Parliament has abdicated its responsibilities toward the constitution and put it in the lap of the October 15 national referendum. Al-Hayat aptly said that the Iraqi constitution has been delivered by caesarian section. It was plucked from the womb of the drafting committee before the latter could give birth to it naturally. Sunni negotiator Salih Mutlak called it "a minefield."

Al-Hayat: Another member of the drafting committee, Sunni politician Abd al-Nasir al-Janabi, called for international intervention to prevent its being passed into law. He particularly asked for the Arab League and the United Nations to intervene. The Sunni Arab delegates noted that they were promised that the constitution drafting process would be based on consensus, and that this pledge had been the precondition for their involvement in it last June. On Sunday the Shiites and the Kurds reneged dramatically on that promise. Husain al-Falluji said that this constitution contains the seeds of Iraq's bloody partition, something, he said, that would "serve American interests."

US Ambassador in Baghdad Zalmay Khalilzad got carried away and called the Iraqi constitution the best in the Muslim world. Well, we could exclude Turkey's constitution because it is just a slightly reworked version of the Swiss, and so not very indigenous to the Muslim world. But what about, say, Indonesia? He should look at these powerpoint slides on the Indonesian constitution. The latter also guarantees civil liberties and equality before the law, but the Indonesian government, unlike Khalilzad, resisted demands by adherents of political Islam that Islamic law be recognized in it. The new Iraqi constitution contains a provision that no legislation may be passed that contradicts Islamic law. That provision makes the Iraqi constitution read as self-contradictory (since it also celebrates human rights and democracy), and puts it in contrast with that of Indonesia, which contains no such provision. Since 1998 democracy has flourished in Indonesia.

So why must an indigenous achievement such as the 1998-2002 amendments to the Indonesian Constitution be devalued in favor of a deeply flawed and fatally self-contradictory constitution produced in Iraq under twin Iranian and American auspices? Does everything have to be about George Bush?

Please read the whole thing, there's more of not here that I haven't included. They have violated their own interim Constitution in the drafting of this, and have sought to exclude Sunnis, they have included provisions that may set the stage for Iraq to become an Islamic Republic like Iran, and set the stage for Iraq's partition. This is not the great document that has been touted by the Bush Administration and much of the press, it is one that has followed processes leading to serious questions of the legitimacy of the interim government, and creates exactly the kind of government that we should seek to prevent.

Absurd Article

You know you're beyond reality when even George Will thinks you're a right wing crackpot.

The Washington Post today runs a miserable article explaining the talent of pro-athletes with Intelligent Design.
Athletes often talk of feeling an absolute fulfillment of purpose, of something powerful moving through them or in them that is not just the result of training.

How about the fact that athletes have been brought up loving their particular sport since birth, if you love something enough to get that good you probably do feel something powerful moving through you, it is the love of the game. In High School you begin to see a lot of players who have previously been top athletes stop caring and fall behind those who love the game and work hard. Now, enter George Will into the picture with what should be a rather obvious observation.
"March of the Penguins" raises this question: If an Intelligent Designer designed nature, why did it decide to make breeding so tedious for those penguins? The movie documents the 70-mile march of thousands of Antarctic penguins from the sea to an icy breeding place barren of nutrition. These perhaps intelligently but certainly oddly designed birds march because they cannot fly. They cannot even march well, being most at home in the sea.

In temperatures of 80 below and lashed by 100 mph winds, the females take months to produce an egg while the males trek back to the sea to fatten up. Returning, the males are entrusted with keeping the eggs warm during foodless months while the females march back to the sea to fill their stomachs with nutriments they will share with the hatched chicks.

The penguins' hardiness is remarkable, as is the intricate choreography of the march, the breeding and the nurturing. But the movie, vigorously anthropomorphizing the birds, invites us to find all this inexplicably amazing, even heroic. But the penguins are made for that behavior in that place. What made them? Adaptive evolution. They have been "designed" for all that rigor -- meaning they have been shaped by adapting to many millennia of nature's harshness.

There is only one explanation. It is apparent that the intelligent designer just hates penguins and thus forces them to go through such insanity.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times is a damn liar. Unfortunately I am unable to provide the link, but on August 7 of this year he wrote in an article entitled "When Pigs WiFi."
This is cowboy country, where the rodeo is coming to town, the high school's ''kiss the pig'' contest involves a genuine hog, and life seems about as high-tech as the local calf-dressing competition, when teams race to wrestle protesting calves into T-shirts.

But Hermiston is actually a global leader of our Internet future. Today, this chunk of arid farm country appears to be the largest Wi-Fi hot spot in the world, with wireless high-speed Internet access available free for some 600 square miles. Most of that is in eastern Oregon, with some just across the border in southern Washington.

Driving along the road here, I used my laptop to get e-mail and download video -- and you can do that while cruising at 70 miles per hour, mile after mile after mile, at a transmission speed several times as fast as a T-1 line. (Note: it's preferable to do this with someone else driving.)

This kind of network is the wave of the future, and eastern Oregon shows that it's technically and financially feasible. New York and other leading cities should be embarrassed that Morrow and Umatilla Counties in eastern Oregon are far ahead of them in providing high-speed Internet coverage to residents, schools and law enforcement officers -- even though all of Morrow County doesn't even have a single traffic light.

News flash! It's bullshit! You cannot get a wireless internet connection while driving down the road through there. Admittadly I did not go through Hermiston, but I was not far from there. Below is a map showing the route I took in green, as you can see I went straight through Umatilla which is not far at all from Hermiston where Kristof writes his collumn. Hermiston has a red star on it, you should be able to find Umatilla, even though it is missing part of its "U."

While I will believe the premise that the area is wired, you certainly cannot get a usable signal from your car to surf the web as you drive. My computer recognized numerous wireless signals as we traveled through the area, but I could not use any of them for surfing the web, I either could not get a response from the server, or I was unable to stay connected long enough to do anything. The whole collumn was nothing but a damned lie.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Atrios on the "equal time for different views" Doctrine

I don't know the specifics of Kurtz' comment, but Atrios does a nice job of destroying his "equal time for different views," doctrine.
It isn't clear what "the other side" is here, but goddamnit we will find that person. Luckily, that person won't actually have to bother going and sitting in the sun in Texas for weeks, just by virtue of Sheehan's existence that person, whoever it may be, will be given equal time, no matter how unequal they are.

The story is about a mother who lost a son in Iraq and went to Crawford to try to get the president, who keeps telling her that her son died for a noble cause, to tell her what that cause is. What's the other side of that? People who don't want to know why we're in Iraq?

There just is not always "another side" the more frequent cercumstance is that one side is made up of crackpots (ex-evolution vs. creationism). To suggest that all views deserve equal air time is nuts. If I claim that the sky is green does that mean that I deserve equal television time with someone who says the sky is blue? What if I claimed the the world was flat? Does that mean that I deserve television time to insist to millions of people that it is? No, because we all know that I am just wrong, so Howie Kurtz seems to suggest that if you have a view, its worth being heard, which is the biggest bunch of bullshit I can imagine.

Oh, wait, I found a bigger piece of bullshit.
Another Atrios post to the same note.
Taking "two sides" and giving them equal weight is not "being objective," especially since the Flying Spaghetti Monster was not given equal time. The Right has spent 30 years building the ultimate shit-flinging machine, and the press happily obliges it by giving a "fair hearing" to anything they come up with.

Schweitzer's Energy Plan, I don't buy it

While I do believe that this could reduce energy prices signifigantly, this seems to ignore one of the major problems we're facing, the natural decline in reserves of fossil fuels. The resource itself is running out, period, and it takes millions of years to reproduce said resources. So while Schweitzer is doing what Republicans have failed to do, address the problem. This doesn't seem like an effective solution to me.
Montana's governor wants to solve America's rising energy costs using a technology discovered in Germany 80 years ago that converts coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel.

The Fischer-Tropsch technology, discovered by German researchers in 1923 and later used by the Nazis to convert coal into wartime fuels, was not economical as long as oil cost less than $30 a barrel.

But with U.S. crude oil now hitting more than double that price, Gov. Brian Schweitzer's plan is getting more attention across the country and some analysts are taking him very seriously.

Montana is "sitting on more energy than they have in the Middle East," Schweitzer told Reuters in an interview this week.

"I am leading this country in this desire and demand to convert coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. We can do it in Montana for $1 per gallon," he said.

"We can do it cheaper than importing oil from the sheiks, dictators, rats and crooks that we're bringing it from right now."

The governor estimated the cost of producing a barrel of oil through the Fischer-Tropsch method at $32, and said that with its 120 billion tons of coal -- a little less than a third of the U.S total -- Montana could supply the entire United States with its aviation, gas and diesel fuel for 40 years without creating environmental damage.

What it might be, however, is a good route to transition. As we develope the new renewable energy economy based on resources that won't run out, such as wind, water, and solar, a short term solution to do nothing more than reduce prices might be necessary. We cannot develope the technology we need to get oil off our backs overnight, and Schweitzer might be onto something in terms of short term cost reductions.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


The latest ARG poll has Bush at an unbelievable new low, a record he seems to be breaking every month. But this time, it is low almost unimaginably low. I thought last month when Bush hit 40% approval that he was down to his base support, I was wrong, as now ARG finds his August approval rating at (drumroll...) 36% with 58% dissaproval, that is a truly shocking number.

CNN's "Dead Wrong"

First off CNN engaged in miserable advertising to make it look like their "CNN Present's" special on pre-Iraq War intelligence would be nothing more than another bogus "we got bad intel" story. The advertising was, however, very misleading. And "Dead Wrong," was quite good, far better than the standard that CNN has set for itself recently, choosing to cover missing white women over real news, and choosing to repeat RNC talking points instead of doing any real research. It is clear that I am not the only one who thought positively of the Iraq Intelligence special.
"I bet someone that CNN's Dead Wrong, which aired 8PM Sunday night, would probably be near dead last in the weekend cable news ratings. Are the numbers in yet?," an e-mailer asked.

Yes they are, and I'm afraid you lost the bet. The premiere of CNN's investigation into pre-war intelligence failures averaged 673,000 viewers on Sunday night, 43% more than CNN Presents' 2005 average of 470,000 viewers.

The show also scored CNN's highest rating in the 25-54 demo on Sunday, with 198,000 viewers. (However, CNN placed fourth in the demo on Sunday night with only 99,000 viewers -- even MSNBC beat 'em.)

The program received approximately five times more viewer feedback than average, and most of it was positive. According to a CNN spokesperson, an average show receives about 40 to 50 responses the night/next morning it airs and Dead Wrong received over 350. The overwhelming majority of the feedback was positive, and the primary sentiment was "viewers thanking CNN for having the courage to be a leader and address the facts of this in the media," according to the network.

The special did a good job of discussing the way Administration desires to go to war made them insist on a certain kind of intel from the CIA. When you tell an intelligence organization what they're supposed to get you, it's pretty predictable from there that you'll proceed to get bad intelligence. They didn't tell the CIA, "get me everything you've got on Iraq." They said, "Show me that Iraq has WMDs and poses a threat." Well done CNN, please continue to report like you did in "Dead Wrong," it's a huge step up from the kind of reporting you have engaged in recently.

Reframing Advise and Consent

I bumped into this comment at DailyKos, an excellent thought on reframing the Senate's role in the confirmation of Court nominees.
It Seems Important To Remember... (4.00 / 5)

... that the onus is on Roberts and the Adminstration to prove him worthy of appointment to the highest court. The idea that the President should just get whatever he wants and its up to the opposition to derail a nomination if they can is just yet another bullshit GOP frame.

As long as the prerequisite for that shining Paradise is ignorance, bigotry, and hate... I say the Hell with it. --Inherit the Wind

by kingubu on Wed Aug 24th, 2005 at 09:42:42 PDT

Excellent frame, the President and the nominee must prove to the Senate that the nominee is worthy of confirmation. This sets the stage for us to make the point that we've been trying to make on many nominees. That the Republican majority in the Senate has been a rubber stamp for extremist Bush nominees. When we start talking about them failing to show us why Roberts is worthy of the highest Court in the land, combined with the ammunition provided us by the Administration for failing to release necessary documents, the GOP is framed as the party of the rubber stamp for Bush. Instead of putting the burden of proof on Democrats as to whether he really believes the things we have attacked him for putting in briefs, this frame would change that burden to the other side. Instead of Democrats needing to prove that Roberts is an extremist those who support him must prove that he's not, otherwise the Senate, Democrats and Republicans together should reject him without the Administration proving he is worthy of the Supreme Court.

On Trolling

I'm not a big enforcer of trolls on threads, I almost never troll rate comments at DailyKos, but this is rediculous case I'm about to show you, if you want to comment on my blog, please do, but if you want to advertise on my blog please contact me and we'll talk about it, do not post text advertisements to my comments section, from now on they will be deleted. Just to show what I refer to I will leave it up on the original post, but if this happens again I will delete the comment. This comment on a post relating to Pat Robertson's view that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should be assissinated because "we need oil," and "it would be a lot cheaper than a war," failed to even contain one instance of any of the following key words "Robertson," "Chavez," "Venezuela," "oil," or "war." You troll my blog this bad and I guarantee in the future your comment will be deleted.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Pro-Life Stance

The religious right continues its sterling record on being pro-life, after all, assasination is the moral thing to do.

Monday, August 22, 2005

New Democracy Corps Study

Democracy Corps has released a new study based on focus group results of red State Bush voters, their views on the current Republican majority, and their perceptions of the Democrats, as well as what their priorities are in government. Armando and Ed Kilgore of the DLC react to the findings at DailyKos:
Again the notion of the cultural divide as the great obstacle to Democratic electoral success rears its head. And yet, the idea that going to voters who went for Bush 4-1 in 2004 and expecting anything else seems strange to me. Are these swing voters?

While in one sense this observation should be obvious that these people may represent a group of voters who Democrats should not bother to court. Though in another sense Armando misses a couple of points here. It can tell us a lot about our failure to win elections by looking at people who are consistantly voting for Republicans, and seeing how they view American politics. This can tell us a lot about framing, and can allow us to see if we can reach a wider range of voters than just the 10% swing voters who are argued over in every election. Something went drastically wrong in 2004, we managed to lose an election where all the world events seemed in favor of Democrats. An incumbent President who had lost more jobs than Herbert Hoover, a failure to even address spiraling health care costs, a pointless war that we were lead to on lies in Iraq, the list goes on and on. And yet, we managed to lose the Presidency and Congressional seats (though excluding Texas jerrymandering Democrats made minor gains in the House, as it was Democrats had minor losses in the House). Understanding joe Republican may be something very critical for Democrats to do at this stage in the game.

Armando gets into the meat of DemocracyCorps conclusion.
The Republican Party can fairly be labelled the Party of Dobson, called to heel by the Radical Right. In my estimation, voters who feel as described by the study are NOT fertile ground for our voters. We should NOT trim our social message on a fool's errand. If we get those voters, it will be because of other parts of our message, and trimming won't change their views on the social issues or make them forget where we stand.

We need to embrace proudly our commitment to civil rights, women's rights, economic justice, equal protection under the law, the right to privacy.

We are for these not because we are serving special interests. African-Americans are not special interests. Women are not special interests. The working class is not a special interest. These are Americans. Who deserve a fair shake.

This is right on the money, Democrats cannot afford to start shifting rightward on the right to choose on abortion, or the rights of gay couples to be entitled to equal partnership benefits as straight couples. We can never represent hard right values on these issues better than the Republicans unless we made up our minds to completely sacrifice our values to become even more conservative than Republicans on these issues. This is the major flaw with the kinds of arguments that groups such as the DLC tend to make, they constantly seek a middle ground that simply does not exist.

Kilgore's remarks in truth differ little from Armando's and while I would highly recommend reading the post, his statements are not really worth using valuable space and time for.

There seemed to be a perception here that Democrats are "for" abortion, this is nothing more than a simple framing problem here, and much of the problems that emerge in this study are framing problems.

Democrats are percieved as being "against" religion, "for" abortion, "for" "the gays." People aren't really thinking in terms of the broader principles here that Democratic positions on these issues represent. Therefore, (this should be obvious) Democrats need to be a lot smarter about the language they use. The problem here is not the position itself, as frustration with the Republican tendancy to try to run individuals lives is apparent:
Republicans seem to cave into the religious right, to the point that they promote state rights but throw all that out the window and get involved in Terri Schiavo.
(Denver, younger college men)

Democrats need to talk about "choice," not "abortion." As Kos has noted numerous times, "everybody hates abortion." If the Democrats are the Party of Abortion everywhere they will lose consistantly, because abortion is terrible, but the belief that abortion is terrible does not distract from the view that women deserve the right to make that decision themselves. It seems that (assuming these voters really do represent Joe Redstate Voter) in rural America Democrats are percieved as "The Party of Abortion" while in more Democratic leaning districts the issue is viewed more in terms of choice than the procedure itself. Choice is huge, Clinton's 1993 Universal Health Care proposal failed because of the perception that it would limit choice. This one can work for anybody if used right. Democrats need to avoid the basic topics of abortion and gay marriage in rural red America, instead the focus should be on the larger values of choice or (in the case of gay marriage) equality. When someone asks about abortion Democrats should answere honestly, but without the complexity that we saw Kerry answere with in the debates. The correct answer is not:
I'm personally against abortion, but don't feel it is my role to legislate that belief for other people.

That answere makes the candidate look pro-abortion. The correct answer to abortion questions is this:
I believe in choice, people have the right to make personal decisions without the government interfering in what is a personal matter. Republicans want to limit your choice, they want government to tell you who you can have intimate relationships with (see Republican reaction to Lawrence v. Texas). they would even prevent married couples from using contraceptives (see Santorum on Griswold v. Connecticut and John Roberts on the "so called right to privacy")

Democrats should frame themselves as pro-choice, and Republicans as anti-choice, it removes the issue of abortion from the equation, and puts the discussion on the larger principles that voters agree with Democrats on. The same can be done for any issue, gay marriage is about equal rights and treating everyone the same way. Thus removing what we all know the red State frame of gay marriage is (even though it did not appear in the Democracy Corps focus groups), "the gays want 'special rights.'" Don't talk directly about gay marriage/civil unions at all, talk about those issues in terms of the larger concept of "equal rights."

Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned from this study is that everything must apply personally and close to home. The Iraq war needs to be discussed in terms of local lives changed and lost because of this pointless war. Don't talk about lost jobs nationally, talk about the weakness of the local economy, don't talk about health care in a vaccuum, make sure the voters empathize with the issue and put the problem and solution close to them. Democrats should be able to cut into this mis-framing of them by effective and aggressive counter-framing as well as offering a clear and precise counter agenda. Without these Democrats will face another 2004 in 2006 where voters are clearly dissatisfied but vote the same old bastards back to their seats where they can continue to wage total war on Americas most basic values.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Next Death In Iraq: Democracy

After it became apparent that the initial reasons for invasion of Iraq were all lies, the Bush Administration fell back on the old "liberating Iraqis" line. Reuters reports that this principle is the most recent death in Iraq.
Sunni Arab negotiator Saleh al-Mutlak also said a deal was struck which would mean parliament could pass no legislation that "contradicted Islamic principles". A constitutional court would rule on any dispute on that, the Shi'ite official said.

"The Americans agreed, but on one condition -- that the principles of democracy should be respected," Mutlak said.

"We reject federalism," he repeated, underlining continued Sunni opposition to Hakim's demands. Hundreds demonstrated in the Sunni city of Ramadi on Saturday, echoing Mutlak's views.

He urged Sunnis, dominant under Saddam Hussein but who have largely shunned politics and, in some cases, taken up arms in revolt, to vote in an October referendum to back a constitution.

Other Sunni leaders are also encouraging their followers to register for the referendum, in part to ensure they can block the constitution if they chose to oppose it down the road. If two-thirds of voters in at least three of Iraq's 18 provinces vote no in October's referendum, the constitution is rejected.

The Kurdish negotiator rushed to make clear his outrage at a deal on Islam: "We don't want dictatorship of any kind, including any religious dictatorship.

"Perhaps the Americans are negotiating to get a deal at any cost, but we will not accept a constitution at any cost," he said, adding that he believed Shi'ite leaders had used the precedent of Afghanistan to win the ambassador's support.

Khalilzad, who has said there will be "no compromise" on equal rights for women and minorities, helped draft a constitution in his native Afghanistan that declared it an "Islamic Republic" in which no law could contradict Islam.

It also, however, contained language establishing equal rights for women and protecting religious minorities.

Actually seems fitting, since as far as I can tell the Bush Administration supports theocracy across the board, even in the United States.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New Survey USA Poll

The new 50 State Presidential Approval poll by Survey USA is out. Bush is really collapsing, and barring some major change will be a major burden on Republicans in 2006 Senate and House races. Idaho serves as the President's high at 59% Approve/36% Dissaprove. Rhode Island serves as Bush's low at 29%/68%. He is at a higher approval rating than dissaproval in 10 States, and is even in two.

This Administration reminds me of the Titanic. It wasn't that long ago when the favorite line of media talking heads was "this is a popular president." They are sinking fast just like the "unsinkable" Titanic. It's only unfortunate that so many have realized 10 months too late what a disaster this administration has been.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Daily Show Wasn't Funny

Last night the Daily Show had the fewest laughs I've ever seen on that program, a sign of where America is, our situation has become so bad that Jon Stewart can't even effectively make a joke out of it. You could even see it on Stewart's face, there were very few planned jokes on the program, and even fewer ones that were actually funny. One moment was in line with the brilliant humor audiances have come to expect from the Daily Show.
The Iraqi Governing Council has voted to extend its time period for the drafting of a Constitution. I have just one thing to say to them, ok, you can turn it in late, but the best the best you can get on it is a "B", none of this "but we don't have a human rights bill yet." No, you'll turn it in in a week and you'll get no better than a "B".

In other news, I hate slow news weeks, I have had little inclination to write about anything this week except perhaps our arrogant prick of a President who can't even take time out of his vacation to talk to the mother of someone who died in his misguided war. It would make sense for him to talk to Sheehan if nothing else, just from a Public Relations standpoint, it would be in his best interest to talk to her, listen to her grievances and tell the press they had a productive meeting, but they are so arrogant they can't even do that minimum service to a grieving mother.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Senior Administration Officials Admit to Unrealistic War Narrative

The Washington Post is running a story for the Sunday paper on lowering expectations of what may be achieved in Iraq from some "Senior Administration Officials. Many of the observations here are exactly what we who opposed the war were saying at the beginning, in addition to the obvious fact that we were being lied to many of us were saying such things as.
"We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. "That process is being repeated all over."

Gee, I personally remember saying that before the war, as well as many other skeptical and anti-war authors. It seems to me that we are no longer serving any purpose there, Iraq will fall into civil war with or without us, and the best we can do is not be in the middle of it. The three major ethnic groups within Iraq can seem to agree on so little that any other outcome seems unlikely, they can't even agree on something so basic as the form of government.
With the strength of that central control still to be determined, the Sunnis have expressed fears that enshrining federalism in the Iraqi constitution could lead to the dissolution of the country. Other groups have called those fears overblown, particularly the Kurds, who have effectively ruled as an autonomous region in the north since the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

Friday, August 12, 2005

On Santorum's View of Many of His Constituants

Earlier this week Rick Santorum (Asswipe-VA PA) spoke to a conservative think tank, saying:
How dangerous popular culture is for kids - "You know you wouldn't send your child into parts of east Wilmington at 11 o'clock at night alone if they're 5 years old," Santorum said. "But when you sit a child down at a computer chat room, you're doing pretty much the same thing to their mind. It's a very dangerous place. Many parents don't realize that."

This shows a kind of resentment for his own constituants that should be intolerable to Pennsylvania voters.
But that first sentence...the way he said it. We're not experts on the lay of the land in Wilmington, but it didn't take too much Googling to confirm that East Wilmington is, ahem, the black neighborhood. And so he tells his audience that "you" wouldn't send "your" kid there at night. Apparently, he felt pretty confident that no one in his audience, perish the thought, might actually be trying to raise his or her own child there.

Like so many of his ilk, Santorum seems to live in a world where "you" and "yours" are white suburbanites who can afford a fast computer and an Internet provider.

And so there's nothing worse, apparently, than the idea that their Dell PC might be making their suburban sanctuary as dangerous as some neighborhoods already are, not just at 11 p.m. but when school lets out in the afternoon, and when bullets have been known to fly.

Rick Santorum isn't the senator for East Wilmington. But he does represent dozens of neighborhoods much like it, from Mantua or Fairhill here in Philly to dozens of other communities like them across Pennsylvania. And it's true that he drops by from time to time, to talk up "compassionate conservatism" or rarely, to dole out small federal grants through a small network of GOP black ministers and the like. But he just doesn't sound as worried about their kids, ducking bullets, as "your" kids in chat rooms.

Because each night it's back to his more-than $757,000 home in the bedroom community of Leesburg, Va., where he looks out at his wealthy neighbors and ponders social problems -- not the problems of people like us, but the problems of people like "you."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dismantling Right Wing Lies

Media Matters takes to task the claim that Cindy Sheehan "changed" her story on her visit with President Bush in June of 2004. This is an excellent example of the "right wing echo chamber" effect that Alterman talks about in "What Liberal Media?"

If I get the time and the inspiration I would love to create a progressive version of a right wing distortion on a news story just for shits and giggles.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Specter Concerned About Robert's Views on Interstate Commerce

Senate Judiciary Chair Arlen Specter seems to share my concerns about Robert's narrow view of the Commerce Clause as witnessed by his opinion in the toad case.

I don't feel like changing this post, but I just made an interesting observation. I apparently haven't talked about the toad here before. Odd omission, and I could have sworn I had talked about it.

Pro-Choice Republicans Don't Advance Choice

Kos commented again today on NARAL's endorsement of Lincoln Chafee for another term as Rhode Island's Senator, NARAL evidently prefferred the pro-choice Chafee to a possible pro-life Democrat. Kos makes the case that NARAL is stupid to do this quite well.
You know, nothing says they have to endorse an anti-abortion Democrat, but clearly they don't understand that good politics -- turning the Senate Democratic is far more beneficial for their issue (women rights) than anything the Republicans can muster.

Until NARAL (and the rest of the single-issue groups) understand that building a movement is more beneficial to their causes than singular devotion to their pet causes, I can't take them seriously.

Divided those groups are being picked off, one by one. Trial lawyers, you're next up. United, the Republicans stand.

The groups I take seriously? MoveOn, Democracy for America, National Political Hip Hop Conference, the bloggers -- groups that are working to build an effective progressive movement, not a single issue. Because when Democrats regain power, choice, the environment, worker's rights -- the whole gamut -- will be protected.

Aside from the obvious issues here on leadership (Chafee votes to put people like Frist and Lott into leadership positions), there is a more substantive problem in terms of actual votes cast in the Senate such that a pro-life Democrat advances choice much more effectively than does a pro-choice Republican. Let's compare Chafee (pro-choice Republican) to Harry Reid of Nevada (pro-life Democrat). When Bush nominates anti-choice judges to the Federal bench, one of these people votes for those nominees in ever single case, while the other opposes them consistently. When it actually comes time to vote, Reid promotes choice much better than does Chafee, so these kinds of attitudes (we'll endorse a Republican because they support our cause) actually work to the detriment of the issue at hand because it is the pro-life Democrats at the end of the day who stand strong for choice.

Alaska's Pork

Don Young has delivered a lot to Alaska as chair of the transportation committee, Alaskans must love him for this, but the rest of us have good reason to despise him. The New Republic explains.
the planned bridge connecting Anchorage, Alaska, with the sparsely populated section of land across the Knik Arm Channel will be anything but modest. Named in honor of the House Transportation Committee chairman who helped push the project through Congress as part of last week's transportation bill, the two-mile span will rival the Golden Gate Bridge in length, and the $229 million in federal funding approved for it is expected to be just the tip of the iceberg. The bill, in which Alaska received almost $1 billion in pork-barrel projects, also included $220 million for another huge bridge connecting the city of Ketchikan (population 8,000) with nearby Gravina Island (population 50).

$220 million for a bridge from Ketchikan to an island of 50 people? We could buy them all boats for a lot less than that. The unbelievable amount of pork Alaska gets is absolutely appalling. This is the kind of crap that gives pork a bad name.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Democrats Begin to Build a Progressive Infrastructure

80 wealthy Democratic backers have vowed to contribute $200,000 a year for the next five years to the Democracy Alliance, which will attempt to build a progressive infrastructure for developing new Democratic initiatives comparable to the conservative infrastructure that supports such think tanks as the CATO Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.
Rosenberg said liberals and Democrats now face a conservative "information-age Tammany Hall, a 21st century political machine, that is simply better than what we have on our side.

"The infrastructure we have was built for a different time and mission. It was built around the congressional majority we had for 60 years in the 20th century, the labor movement and the urban-ethnic city machines," he added.

As alliance officials see it, many liberal groups are designed to protect an agenda that was enacted by past Democratic majorities -- as opposed to generating new ideas and communication strategies to win support from voters who do not belong to labor or other traditionally Democratic constituencies.

This is an important step in building a progressive majority, Simon Rosenberg knows what he's doing, his New Democrat Network I suspect will soon be the major organization representing the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, and they will be a much more effective group than the DLC has ever been. Rosenberg takes on important new initiatives to get Democrats back on track, the DLC just uses the same failed strategies over and over again wondering why they can't find their mythical "political center." The DLC acts like Don Ponce De Leon searching endlessly for something that doesn't exist.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Libby Met With Judith Miller

So Miller is protecting Libby, and they spoke one week prior to Novak's collumn about Valerie Plame.

Friday, August 05, 2005

To the DC Establishment Dems

And to Abe who commented here that Hackett ran well because he was a "moderate"...

Hackett ran a fierce and aggressive campaign that focused on the Iraq war. The DCCC in a memo sent out to Congressional Democrats about the race failed to even mention the role of Iraq in the election. Abe argued several weeks ago that Democrats needed to "stop criticizing the initial decision to invade Iraq." Hackett is the proof that this idea is wrong, for it was the central feature in his campaign, as Sirota notes:
The fact is that while polls show that Americans seem willing to consider changing party control in Washington, that won't happen if Democrats basically ignore almost every serious issue, whether it be the war or economic issues. It will happen if more Democrats take strong stands - stands that the public clearly supports. And it certainly is not going to win elections by buying into the media's dishonest reinforcement of right-wing characterizations about the war, nor by reinforcing those right-wing characterizations itself, as some of its high-profile 2008 presidential candidates seem to enjoy doing.

The hope, of course, is that Democratic Members of Congress are realizing on their own just how important it is to address the Iraq War, and that this drivel coming out of the DCCC will be ignored. There are already good signs that it is being ignored. Many Democrats, even those who originally voted for the war, are starting to support legislation that demands the Bush administration provide more details to Congress about its overall strategy in Iraq.

Still, this memo makes clear there really still is a disconnect within the D.C. Democratic cabal. Not only is the D.C. Democratic Establishment removed from the concerns of ordinary Americans, it actually goes out of its way to deny the existence of the messages that actually make campaigns successful. Here's hoping that individual Democratic candidates realize understand that such a disconnect exists, and that they better-understand the messages that are required to win elections.

In my comments Abe makes the claim that "Hackett was a moderate." The very fact that Hackett's campaign focused heavily on Iraq renders the normal left-right comparisons somewhat silly and absurd, but let me entertain the idea for a moment that Hackett's positions outside of his stance on Iraq had anything to do with this election result.

A look at the "on the issues" section of Hackett's webpage can tell us a little about his positions, and all that it is reasonable to draw from. Hackett only outlines 5 non-Iraq issues on his webpage.

Social Security
Health Care

Hackett was against all privatization plans for social security, an issue that Democrats have fallen into line almost unamously on. In his sections on the economy, health care, and the environment he criticizes Republicans for giving handouts to large corporations, on guns he expressed the sentiment that Americans have a right to own one, but that it's important to keep them away from criminals. These are very vague explanations of issues for Hackett, they don't appear to put him into the company of the left wing of the Democratic Party with people like Kucinich, but they also don't appear to be the model of centrism that advocates of that strategy push so much for. In short, Hackett was a Democrat and wasn't afraid to show voters that he was a Democrat and that he opposed the Republican agenda. When push comes to shove I believe that is a more important factor than trying to be "moderate."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Methinks Rove is the target

It is beginning to look (dispite Fitzgerald's statements to the contrary) as though Rove may be the target of the grand jury investigation into the leaking of Valeria Plame's identity as a covert CIA operative may be Karl Rove.
Based on ABC News sources (and our own video camera) it appears that at least two witnesses testified before the grand jury last Friday, both close associates of Karl Rove.

ABC News has learned that one was Susan Ralston, Rove's long-time right hand. The other, per ABC News' Jake Tapper, was Israel "Izzy" Hernandez, Rove's former left hand (and now a top Commerce Department official). It isn't clear if either had been asked to testify before last week [...]

The biggest two questions in this case now involve just what prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has in mind.

First, what makes him interested in Judith Miller? And, second, who is on the list of people he thinks might have committed a crime? The appearances of Ralston and Hernandez suggests at least part of the focus remains on Rove, although his attorney tells ABC News that he still believes Rove is not a target of the investigation.

Hackett Nearly Pulls Out OH-02

[UPDATE]I found a "better" source to link to on the result.

With the results tallied Paul Hackett has lost by only 4% to Republican Jean Schmitt in Ohio's Second Congressional District which went to the Republican incumbant bye a 44% margin in 2004 and which gave Bush 70% of its vote. This is a major victory for Democrats and a great sign going into the 2006 midterms. Ahead of us now is looking at how Hackett came so close to winning in such a deep red district. The obvious point to note is the fundraising gap, something we cannot depend on at this rate in the future, since the NRCC did not get involved until late in the game when Schmitt appeared under threat, Hackett was able to outfundraise her by a wide margin via web contributions. The blogosphere clearly played a big role in this as liberal bloggers got behind Hackett while conservative ones ignored the race. Liberals were able to focus all their political attention on the OH-02, something that we will not be able to do in 2006 with divided attention between House races in every district and 1/3 of States having Senate races. Kos notes:
From the looks of it, the margin was under 4 percent, or per Cook's analysis, a "very serious warning sign" for the state GOP. Indeed, this is probably the only district in Ohio in which Paul would've lost.
The post-mortems will come in the coming days, but for now, I'm happy with what everyone accomplished in Ohio. It's a new day for the Democratic Party, one in which no Republican district is safe.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Kulongoski Bails On Environment

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has agreed to a compromise on a bill expanding property rights under measure 37. Peter Bray @ BlueOregon argues that the bill sets the stage for widespread sprawl:
While Ted Kulongoski might feel that he has "struck a balance", a quick read of the Bill reveals otherwise. The modest environmental protections from Charlie Ringo's original bill are now gone. Instead, property owners will be able to fully "transfer" development rights to subsequent owners. This effectively clears the way for widespread sprawl. (After all, without the ability to transfer rights, future owners may violate the original regulations that the previous owner was exempted from; this confusion is a good thing, as it makes developers and financers uneasy about using Measure 37 for their own sprawling ends.)

Bush Appoints Bolton to UN, Bypasses Senate

In an incredibly arrogant move Bush appointed John Bolton to be the United States Ambassador to the U.N. today in a recess appointment sending a clear message to the Senate, "I don't give a rats ass what you think.."
It was the first time since the United Nations' founding in 1945 that the United States has filled that post using a recess appointment, a backdoor procedure that permits the president to fill vacant positions when the Senate is in recess, as it is for August.