Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Back to work on Xmas Day

Kos linked to this great Futurama clip I had forgotten about. Back to work on Xmas day!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

I've been really busy, so I haven't been posting too much, but here are a few Christmas classics. Christmas in Hollis by Run-Dmc and The Garfield Christmas special(Parts 2 and 3 are linked at the end). Enjoy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Tragedy of Katrina Continues

A raucous debate over the shortage of cheap housing and the demolition of 4,500 public units is sweeping the city and likely to become more intense.
Protesters planned to disrupt a meeting Thursday of the City Council, where members were expected to approve demolishing dozens of buildings - a move that would open racial and class divisions. People entering the council chamber had to pass through metal detectors and handbags were being searched.
The City Council vote is a critical moment in a protracted fight between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and residents, activists and preservationists.
HUD wants to demolish the buildings, most of them damaged by Hurricane Katrina, so developers can take advantage of tax credits and build new mixed-income neighborhoods.

HUD says the redevelopment, in the works before Katrina hit, will mark an end to the city's failed public housing experiment that lumped the poor into crime-ridden complexes and marooned them outside the life of the rest of the city.
But critics say the plan will shrink the stock of cheap housing at a time when housing is scarce and drive poor blacks out of the city. They also say the buildings are, contrary to popular opinion, mostly handsome brick structures that will outlast anything HUD builds in their place.
The update in the original diary is a link to an in depth take on the situation by Loyola of New Orleans Law Prof. Bill Quigley:
Every one of the displaced families who were living in public housing is African-American. Most all are headed by mothers and grandmothers working low-wage jobs or disabled or retired. Thousands of children lived in the neighborhoods. Race, class and gender are unstated parts of every justification for demolition, especially the call for "mixed-income housing." If the demolitions are allowed to go forward, there will be mixed income housing - but the mix will not include over 80 percent of the people who lived there.

This absolute lack of any realistic affordable alternative is the main reason people want to return to their public housing neighborhoods - or be guaranteed one for one replacement of their homes. Absent that, redevelopment will not help the residents or people in the community who need affordable housing.
This is the most recent development in probably the most unreported story of the last two years: The selective "rebuilding" of New Orleans. It is a key example of what Naomi Klein has referred to as disaster capitalism in her latest book, The Shock Doctrine. The rebuild after Katrina was done solely by guidelines of a broken ideology, and as a result have completely ignored the needs the victims of the storm themselves.

The "rebuilding" of New Orleans and Iraq: Blind adherence to Neo-Liberal economics at its finest... and the results speak for themselves.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Republican Party Factions

Since I'm a liberal, and a democrat, I tend to focus a lot of attention on the different splits within my own party. To switch things up, Kos has an interesting overview of the major splits within the republican party:

Corporate Cons

These are Wall Street Republicans, hungry for big federal contracts, less business regulation, increased immigration, happy foreign trading partners, and the protection of the established corporate elite.

Government spending: Pro
Aggressive foreign policy: Against
Immigration: Pro
Traditional values: Irrelevant
Notables: Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Wall Street Journal editorial board


This are the old-school anti-communist, anti-immigrant, John Birch Society types. They loathe foreign entanglements, government spending, affirmative action, and multiculturalism.

Government spending: Against
Aggressive foreign policy: Against
Immigration: Against
Traditional values: Pro
Notables: Ron Paul, Robert Novak, Reagan Democrats, Pat Buchanan


This is the Christian Coalition/Moral Majority crowd, desperate for the wedding of state and religion, desperate to prevent the wedding of same sex couples. Unafraid to spend tax dollars on "faith-based" initiatives, while seeing immigrants as a replenishing source of new converts and religious foot soldiers.

Government spending: Pro
Aggressive foreign policy: Against
Immigration: Pro
Traditional values: Pro
Notables: Mike Huckabee, Pat Robertson, James Dobson


These are the pointy headed "intellectuals" holed up at think tanks like the Project for a New American Century, moving their little armies around a Risk gameboard. Paranoid of the boogeyman under the bed, they feel secure only when dropping bombs on brown people overseas and are obsessed with keeping others as scared as they themselves feel.

Government spending: Pro
Aggressive foreign policy: Pro
Immigration: Against
Traditional values: Irrelevant
Notables: John McCain, Dick Cheney, Joe Lieberman, the Washington Post editorial board

Looking at these different factions and their widely varying agendas, it's a miracle that they've been able to get anything done right? The difference is leadership, and the willingness to whip your members into shape based on a firm long term commitment to their ideology.

The democratic party has no progressive leaders anywhere near the party's power positions, too many members without the balls or commitment to stand up for core progressive principles, which is partially because in the depressing feedback loop that is democratic party, there are no leaders to light their asses on fire if they start fucking up.

True progressive change cannot occur until that cycle is broken, and it's not gonna happen overnight.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Want video evidence of what an asshole Mark Penn is?

How about this. The full segment here.

Penn reminds me of that type of jackass that we've all met at some point, who would rather make cheap smart ass comments about republicans then actually think/talk about anything of substance. (I swear, the college democrats must breed these people, Rahul knows what I'm talking about)

Just look a the way he responds to Joe Trippi calling him out. Penn uses the mature and classy debating style of "We never intended to bring up the cocaine issue"(which is about as subtle as the joke example of a loaded question: "So, do you still beat your wife?")

To finish it off, he comes back at Trippi with the ever mature response of "I think you're saying cocaine, I think you're saying it".

Mark Penn. As always, a class act.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Where we go from here

What he said:
What strikes me at the moment is just how devoid of true, inspirational leaders the current party is. We've got nobody, at least not that is a household name. Kennedy? A longtime liberal and a fine speaker, but hasn't been able to accomplish a whole lot. Byrd made some fine speeches a few years ago, but between those speeches he's always been erratic at best. Reid seems like he's so miserable in the majority that he wants to just crawl under a rock, and I can't tell if Pelosi is being screwed by her subordinates, is screwing them, both, neither, is being screwed by the conservative Dems, or is suffering from something entirely different that I can't even grasp, but in her role as Democratic leader she is about as inspirational as a bowl of room temperature soup.

Hillary Clinton seems to studiously avoid even the shadow of a hint of a larger vision, and Edwards could not get the press to like him if he personally had sex with every one of them. Obama is indeed a fine speaker, but is at his best in well-crafted speeches in service to no particularly concrete or substantive goals -- and those goals he does most passionately espouse, like chastising fellow Democrats for not more emphatically embracing religion, are the stuff of uninspiring Broderesque conventionality. We have faced the most incompetent, corrupt, scandal prone, and indictment-laden administration in recent history, and yet we still must from all corners hear paeans to working together with the worst of the worst, and compromising with the bigoted, and bridging the gap between our moderate party and the one that has been purged of nearly all but the most single-minded of extremists.

Even if elected, it seems improbable that we could hope for more than moderate Dem caretaker status, in the presidency -- a partial rollback of Bush-era abuses, but not a full rollback, a healthcare plan cobbled together in some fashion as to make sure the insurance companies are well taken care of, and only moderate screwing of unions instead of full-bore screwing of unions. It will be a hell of a lot better than being shipped to Abu Ghraib in a duffle bag, but it is not really something to get giddy over.

The blogs are one of the few sources of fire in the entire party. We've got no political generals like the Republican Party's Rove/DeLay/Hastert axis of brutal enforcement and lacerating strategic competence, and we've got no agenda-setting ideologues like Norquist, Dobson, or the other increasingly far-right activists that can and do play the Republican party like a fiddle. The Republican Party has been remade in service to their most conservative, most bigoted, most aggressive, and most extreme members: we, on the other hand, have yet to figure out how to get the Democratic party to give the time of day to the vast majority of their supporters -- even though their supporters hold the majority positions, according to the polls, on nearly every one of the most important issues.

We've only got the blogs and other not-terribly-powerful activists. That is the only source of unapologetic ideology, of long-term vision, or of passion for a common good. We have no leaders except ourselves.
Read the whole thing if you have a chance, it's an articulation of the frustration felt by many (myself included) at recent events, and as well as a look at what the future holds. This isn't going to be a quick fix, and but the online progressive movement is going to be key in rebuilding the democratic party into a viable vehicle for any sort of meaningful change.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Joe Buck Disgusting Act of the Week: Steny Hoyer

The Joe Buck Disgusting Act of the Week is awarded to whatever event/person best deserves Joe Buck's unnecessary and over the top outrage after a 2004 Randy Moss' touchdown celebration.

This week that award goes to Steny Hoyer:
House Democratic leaders could complete work as soon as Monday on a half-trillion-dollar spending package that will include billions of dollars for the war effort in Iraq without the timelines for the withdrawal of combat forces that President Bush has refused to accept, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said yesterday.
"We have to get to a point where the American public more clearly perceives our policy position and is not confused by whether or not the Democrats intend to support the troops that we've sent to Iraq. I don't think there's an option on that," Hoyer said.
Lets have a look at this logic. The vast majority of the country wants to end the war, the democrats have the power to end the war, and instead doing something to... wait for it... end the war, they decide that it's more important to shield themselves against mean republicans calling them pussies. Rather than explain how amoral/cowardly/stupid this whole mess is, I'll defer to a great clip of Ben Affleck on Bill Maher explaining the stunning logic behind these decisions.

If all of that wasn't enough, the article ends with another gem, showing the complete and utter idiocy of the democratic leadership:
Hoyer struck a pragmatic tone, pushing for Congress to adjourn for the year by the end of next week. He suggested that Democrats need to divorce their goal of ending the war from the battle over funding.
Let me make sure I understand this. The democrats should put away the only tool they have to end the war... so that they can get to work on ending the war! Good one Steny! At least now that you've revealed your master plan it makes a little more sense how you've been so completely and utterly worthless at getting anything accomplished.

That was a disgusting act by Steny Hoyer and its unfortunate that we had it on our air live.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Surge is working! And that means what exactly?

Recently, there have been quite a few articles and opinion pieces that have been touting the successes of the surge in Iraq.

Even though quite a few of these pieces have been brought to you by the same idiots who got us into this catastrophe, it has become enough of a talking point that we should let Juan Cole clear up a few of these misleading arguments.

First, let's give perspective to Iraq's shifting benchmarks:
The current "good news" campaign from the Bush administration regarding the troop surge is only the latest in a long history of whitewashing the war since the 2003 invasion. First, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld denied that there was massive looting following the fall of Baghdad. Then he denied that there was a rising guerrilla war. Then, after the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani maneuvered an unwilling Bush administration into holding relatively free elections, the victory of Shiite fundamentalists close to Iran was obscured by the "purple thumb" good news campaign. That is, the administration focused on the democratic process and relative success of the voting, diverting attention from the bad news that the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq had taken over.

Later, it was good news when the Iraqi parliament produced a theocratic constitution with all the weaknesses of the U.S. Articles of Confederation, even though all three Sunni-majority provinces rejected it in the subsequent referendum. What was in the constitution was not important, only that it existed. The Bush administration has heralded any number of such "milestones" reached, but not whether they led to worthwhile results.

Obscured by these "milestones" is that the orgy of violence in Iraq has displaced 2 million persons abroad and another 2 million internally, and left tens of thousands dead. But now the "good news" is that the guerrillas appear not to have been able to keep up the pace of violence characteristic of 2006 and early 2007, even if the pace they maintain today is horrific.
Second, and most importantly: The original goal of the surge. The whole point of the surge was to allow "space"(Read: "an absence of constant violence") for the political process to advance. The reason you haven't heard much about that front is, well, there hasn't been any progress to report:
In recent days, parts of northern Iraq have been invaded by Turkey, an ally of the United States. In Baghdad, Sunni members of parliament staged a walkout to defend their leader, whose bodyguards were implicated in fashioning car bombs. Proposed legislation reducing sanctions against Sunni Arabs who once belonged to the Baath Party nearly produced a riot in parliament. Meanwhile, Britain and Australia, among Bush's few remaining allies with combat troops in Iraq, are planning to depart in 2008, raising questions about security in the key southern port city of Basra, the major route for the country's lucrative oil exports.

What the recent publicity about the "success" of the troop surge has ignored is this: The Bush administration has downplayed the collapsing political situation in Iraq by directing the public's attention to fluctuating numbers of civilians killed.
The greatest problem with the surge remains the classic question of war: What are we fighting for? If our increased presence is not to causing the political process to improve, then what on earth are we doing there?

Cole ends on an even more ominous note for Iraq's future:
Obviously, if the U.S. military wants to stop car bombings by banning vehicular traffic to certain markets, it can do so, especially using thousands of extra troops concentrated in specific areas. But although there has been a relative lull in violence in the U.S.-reinforced Baghdad, the U.S. military acknowledges that the Iraqi capital is still a very dangerous place. One question is whether the violence will explode again when U.S. forces inevitably withdraw. But the far more important question is this: How much longer can Iraq limp along as a failing state before it really begins to collapse?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hillary Clinton doesn't understand irony

So you decide which makes more sense: Entrust our country to someone who is ready on day one ... or to put America in the hands of someone with little national or international experience, who started running for president the day he arrived in the U.S. Senate?
-Hillary Clinton, December 3rd, 2007

To Recap: Hillary Clinton is criticizing someone for having long-time ambitions to run for president, and for having little national or international experience.

Somewhere Alanis Morissette is smiling. Oh wait, I forgot, she doesn't understand irony either.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Rise of Mike Huckabee (and why we should be worried)

(NOTE: This is my first entry that I will cross post at Dailykos, a much much bigger forum. Here is the link if you want to check out how it's received... wish me luck!)

From the earliest stages of the presidential primaries, I have been intrigued by Mike Huckabee's candidacy. However, with him now rising in the polls, and even leading in Iowa, I have become more and more concerned that he could pose a much different, and more dangerous threat than any of the other republican candidates in the 2008 election. In an unfortunate turn of events, the original reason that I began to notice Huckabee's candidacy in the summer has become the issue that makes me fear him in the general election: Populism.

In a move that has placed him in stark contrast with the economic rhetoric of rest of the republican field (and party as a whole), Huckabee has embraced a populist frame on many economic issues.

On the Republican party's traditional economic position:
"I understand that the economy for every American is not just whizzer-bang fantastic," he says. "I'm not necessarily in total sync with the small universe of Republicans who are the CEOs of Wall Street companies, although many of them know what I'm saying is the truth. But I'm very much in sync with the guys who work up and down the factory line."
On Unions:
“The real fact is, unions are going to take a more prominent role in the future for one simple reason: A lot of American workers are finding that their wages continue to get strapped lower and lower while CEO salaries are higher and higher.
And the reality is that when you have the average CEO salary 500 times the average worker, and you have the hedge fund manager making 2,200 times that of the average worker, you're going to create a level of discontent that's going to create a huge appetite for unions.
So unions are the natural result of workers finally saying, ‘Look, I can't go from a $70,000 year job to a $15,000 a year job and feed my family of four.’ That's when unions are going to come back in roaring form.”
On trade:
"Free trade has to be fair trade. We are losing jobs because of an unlevel, unfair trading arena that has to be fixed. Behind the statistics, there are real families, real lives, and real pain. I'm running for President because I don't want people who have worked loyally for a company for 20 or 30 years to walk in one morning and be handed a pink slip and be told, ‘I'm sorry, but everything you spent your life working for is no longer here.'"

After quotes like that, I should point out that many of Huckabee's actual proposals (such as the national sales tax) are about as far from helping the working class as you can get. But as we know the media and pundits will often value well spoken rhetoric over substance and actual policy.

And this is the reason that Mike Huckabee is a threat. Even though there is extraordinary discontent with republicans nationwide, his candidacy has the potential to change the debate, and make the election a referendum on economic issues. Although the current position of the democratic party appears to be in a strong, the unspoken division and "soft underbelly" of the party is their deep internal divide on economic issues. NAFTA, the Bankruptcy bill and the Peru Free trade agreement are just some of countless examples where the democratic caucus and the party as a whole have been shamefully split between the corporate wing of the party and the true progressives. My fear has always been that at some point, a Republican candidate would take advantage of this divide to blur the lines between the parties on economic issues, which is what Mike Huckabee is in a pole position to do. There is a strong undercurrent of populist sentiment throughout the country, and it has the potential to be an electoral gold mine for any candidate who decides to tap into it.

It should also be said, that our choice as nominee will largely determine the effectiveness Huckabee's rhetoric in the general election. A DLC/Bob Rubin style candidate (Read: Hillary Clinton) would be the most vulnerable to this line of attack, whereas someone who has taken stronger stances on these issues would make it much harder to blur the lines between the parties.

If he wins the nomination, his populist rhetoric and strong support from the religious right would make Mike Huckabee a more dangerous opponent than any of his challengers. But if the democratic nominee decides to ignore these economic issues and allows a republican candidate to use them against us, then they we have no one else to blame but ourselves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving DC Sports fans!

I really liked Hanlon, but somebody had to go for any chance to save this season (and Ove's heart for that matter). And hey, Boudreau has a great AHL record, so maybe he's just been waiting for that chance to impress at the highest level.

When Gil and Caron got injured before the playoffs last year, I had this theory that if only Gil had been hurt, we would have at least made it out of the first round (and maybe all the way to the finals, looking at how terrible the east was). I've always thought that Caron has the skill set and basketball smarts to be a elite player if he was given the opportunity to do be the main option. I would have much, much rather seen this remain a bullshit theory that Landon and I would argue about for hours much to the annoyance of everyone else. (Thoughts of the great Andres Nocioni debates come to mind) But it looks like this theory is going to get tested, and since wizard's season is at stake, I really, really hope I'm right.

So Happy Holidays DC sports fans, keep your heads up, cause... well at least Jason Campbell and Andray Blatche are looking like the real deal!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hillary's "Experience" finally questioned!

"I have 35 years of experience, fighting for real change, and I will use my experience to change Washington, starting on day one."
This is the nonsense that the media has repeated without question throughout the battle for the democratic nomination. But her barrage of misleading statements is now being challenged, and even better - it's coming from a mainstream media voice in Maureen Dowd:
Her Democratic rivals had meekly gone along, accepting her self-portrait as a former co-president who gets to take credit for everything important Bill Clinton did in the ’90s. But she was not elected or appointed to a position that needed Senate confirmation . . . She was a top adviser who had a Nixonian bent for secrecy and a knack for hard-core politicking. But if running a great war room qualified you for president, Carville and Stephanopoulos would be leading the pack.
Brilliant. In addition, Dowd has already countered the inevitable smear response from the Clinton campaign; that this is a sexist attack, attempting to belittle all female politicians.
“She hasn’t accomplished anything on her own since getting admitted to Yale Law,” wrote Joan Di Cola, a Boston lawyer, in a letter to The Wall Street Journal this week, adding: “She isn’t Dianne Feinstein, who spent years as mayor of San Francisco before becoming a senator, or Nancy Pelosi, who became Madam Speaker on the strength of her political abilities. All Hillary is, is Mrs. Clinton. She became a partner at the Rose Law Firm because of that, senator of New York because of that, and (heaven help us) she could become president because of that.”
I've thought for a while that Clinton's campaign is actually damaging to female politicians who HAVE made it their own way, and on their OWN merits, such as Feinstein, Pelosi, and a former presidential candidate who was far more qualified: Carol Mosley-Braun. Her candidacy re-enforces existing sexist stereotypes that imply that nepotism and personal connections are required for female politicians to be successful. Other issues aside, I'm thrilled that this is finally getting brought up, and here's hoping it continues.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Immigration Con Artists

As usual, David Sirota is dead on. This time it's about the immigration debate, and how those who are the harshest critics are often the same ones keeping the current system in place.
The con artists' behavior is stunning for its depravity.
First they gut domestic wage and workplace safety enforcement. Then they pass lobbyist-crafted trade pacts that push millions of foreigners into poverty. And presto! When these policies result in a flood of desperate undocumented workers employed at companies skirting domestic labor laws, the con artists follow a deceptive three-step program: 1) Propose building walls that would do nothing but create a market for Mexican ladders 2) Make factually questionable claims about immigrants unduly burdening taxpayers and 3) Scapegoat undocumented workers while sustaining an immoral situation that keeps these workers hiding in the shadows.

The formula allows opportunists in Congress to both deflect heat away from the corporations underwriting their campaigns and preserve an exploitable pool of cheap labor for those same corporations. Additionally, these opportunists get to divide working-class constituencies along racial lines and vilify destitute illegal immigrant populations that don't make campaign donations and therefore have no political voice whatsoever.
Check the link because the whole article is definitely worth a read, especially since the media has created such a misleading debate on the issue.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Joe Buck Disgusting Act of the Week: The CNN Las Vegas Debate

The Disgusting Act of the Week will be awarded periodically to whatever event/person best deserves Joe Buck's over the top outrage at a 2004 Randy Moss' touchdown celebration.

And the winner this week... CNN, for their Las Vegas Democratic Debate.

The debate itself was pretty uninteresting, with few good questions and pointed exchanges. That being said, I thought it was Obama and Richardson's best performance, John Edwards' worst, and more of the same lying and question dodging that we have come to expect from Hillary Clinton.
However what made this debate a disgusting act was both the audience, and the coverage that followed. When watching the debate on television, I noticed several odd things about the audience. First off, there were loud boos of both John Edwards and Barack Obama at points that really didn't make sense, and second, it they didn't sound like regular boos. As a fan of several sports teams who, well, have seen their fair share of boos, I know a normal sounding boo starts softer, and grows louder as it spreads through the crowd. These boos were different though, they sounded like they were coordinated, immediately at top volume, like you were flipping on a switch. It didn't seem to make too much sense until I read a diary by LV Pol Girl over at dailykos, who attended the debate and gave her own take.
The audience was basically divided into two sections. One side was UNLV, the well behaved section and the other section was the Hillary (oops, I meant the DNC) section. The DNC section is where I was seated and it was filled with Hillary supporters. The guy next to me said he was for Edwards and lied, because the only person he cheered for was Hillary. Loud, obnoxious, women were sitting behind me that talked throughout the debate and sneered "trial lawyer" every time Edwards spoke and called Obama "arrogant".
So the audience was predominantly pro-Hillary, but that was only one piece of the puzzle. In order to counter what had been over a week of bad press coverage based on the last debate and planted questions, the media needed to agree that Hillary had turned things around. Enter the CNN post debate team:
  • James Carville: Admitted Hillary Clinton supporter, sent out a fund raising letter for her campaign last year.
  • David Gergen: Former Bill Clinton adviser and confidante.
  • J.C. Watts: Former republican congressman (Your guess as good as mine why he's there)
And, in a truly shocking development, the panel loved Hillary.

"She really turned it around."
"She hit it out of the park."
"She fought back, but looked like a leader"

And in the end, the transformation was complete. After one week of questioning her status as the inevitable nominee, all it took was one night of dodging questions, packing the audience with your supporters then putting your supporters on tv as analysts to return to the race to the status quo. I guess the brain-dead media giveth, and the brain-dead media taketh away.

That was a disgusting act by CNN and it's unfortunate that we had it on our air live.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reagan Revisionism, meet Alton Lister

When the media decided to rewrite Ronald Reagan's legacy after his death, one aspect that has really bugged me is omitting his racist tendencies as both governor and president. In this case, David Brooks decided to simply to make up his own version of history:
The distortion concerns a speech Ronald Reagan gave during the 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., which is where three civil rights workers had been murdered 16 years earlier. An increasing number of left-wing commentators assert that Reagan kicked off his 1980 presidential campaign with a states’ rights speech in Philadelphia to send a signal to white racists that he was on their side. The speech is taken as proof that the Republican majority was built on racism.
The truth is more complicated.
Brooks goes on to explain how Reagan was misunderstood, and it's this is just a scary story made up by mean liberals who want to tarnish Reagan's image. Well, good thing Bob Herbert is on staff at the same paper to take Brooks behind the woodshed:
On June 21, one day after his arrival, he (Andrew Goodman) and fellow activists Michael Schwerner and James Chaney disappeared. Their bodies wouldn’t be found until August. All had been murdered, shot to death by whites enraged at the very idea of people trying to secure the rights of African-Americans.
The murders were among the most notorious in American history. They constituted Neshoba County’s primary claim to fame when Reagan won the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 1980. The case was still a festering sore at that time. Some of the conspirators were still being protected by the local community. And white supremacy was still the order of the day.
That was the atmosphere and that was the place that Reagan chose as the first stop in his general election campaign. The campaign debuted at the Neshoba County Fair in front of a white and, at times, raucous crowd of perhaps 10,000, chanting: “We want Reagan! We want Reagan!”
Reagan was the first presidential candidate ever to appear at the fair, and he knew exactly what he was doing when he told that crowd, “I believe in states’ rights.”
Context really is everything, not only for this one issue, but it bears pointing out that it fits in with the rest of Reagan's record on civil rights, as well as the ADMITTED RACIST TACTICS of his adviser, (and Karl Rove mentor) Lee Atwater. Herbert explains:
"He was tapping out the code. It was understood that when politicians started chirping about “states’ rights” to white people in places like Neshoba County they were saying that when it comes down to you and the blacks, we’re with you.
And Reagan meant it. He was opposed to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was the same year that Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were slaughtered. As president, he actually tried to weaken the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He opposed a national holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He tried to get rid of the federal ban on tax exemptions for private schools that practiced racial discrimination. And in 1988, he vetoed a bill to expand the reach of federal civil rights legislation. Congress overrode the veto.
Reagan also vetoed the imposition of sanctions on the apartheid regime in South Africa. Congress overrode that veto, too.
Throughout his career, Reagan was wrong, insensitive and mean-spirited on civil rights and other issues important to black people. There is no way for the scribes of today to clean up that dismal record.
To see Reagan’s appearance at the Neshoba County Fair in its proper context, it has to be placed between the murders of the civil rights workers that preceded it and the acknowledgment by the Republican strategist Lee Atwater that the use of code words like “states’ rights” in place of blatantly bigoted rhetoric was crucial to the success of the G.O.P.’s Southern strategy. That acknowledgment came in the very first year of the Reagan presidency."
Revisionist history of Ronald Reagan's views and record has been rampant since his death, and it's good to see a Shawn Kemp on Alton Lister style humiliation of Brooks for defending Reagan's disgraceful actions.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bob Rubin sure knows how to lose

Flashback to 2004: A time when even though I was crushed about Dean's defeat, I figured that anybody who could string two sentences together and not lead us into a senseless war would beat George W. Bush. Enter Bob Rubin:
He (Jagdish Bhagwati) was rambling on about Kerry, and the Kerry campaign and said that at some point in the general election, after Bob Rubin had signed on as an advisor, he saw Kerry giving a speech in which he blasted “Benedict Arnold” companies for pursuing off-shore tax havens. According to Bhagwati, he picked up the phone and called Kerry and said “If you ever say that again I’m off the campaign.”
Needless to say, the Benedict Arnold line had been getting enthusiastic reception and tested off the charts. It never made another appearance. Another example of the Bob Rubin effect on the Democratic party.
So obviously the 2004 loss was about more than this one thing, but it really shows the idiocy of these DLC consultants. Even though these issues are popular with the public (as well as, you know, the right thing to do) the corporate wing of the party has managed to keep them from ever seeing the light of day. It's funny looking back, because I remember talking to Rahul at the time about Kerry's use of the phrase, and us both thinking that it was a great way to rail against tax cheat companies. For more on Bob Rubin, check out this older profile which includes this shameful story:
In April 2004, AFL-CIO president John Sweeney grew concerned that John Kerry was getting too much of his economic advice from the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party. Kerry had just completed his primary sweep. In the general election, he would need the unions. Sweeney proposed a private meeting to discuss living standards as a campaign issue, and the candidate invited the labor leader to his Beacon Hill home. Sweeney arrived at the Kerry manse, bringing his policy director, Chris Owens, and Jeff Faux of the Economic Policy Institute. There, seated in the elegant living room, were Robert Rubin and two longtime lieutenants: investment banker and former Rubin deputy Roger Altman, and fellow Clinton alum Gene Sperling -- Kerry's key economic advisers.

In a three-hour conversation, the group discussed the deficit, taxes, trade, health care, unions, and living standards. The labor people urged the candidate to go after Wal-Mart's low wages. Rubin countered that a lot of people like Wal-Mart's low prices. Kerry eventually announced that the meeting needed to wrap up, because "Bob has to get back to Washington." Rubin responded that, no, he could stay as long as Kerry wanted. Sweeney and his colleagues were ushered out the door; Rubin, Altman, and Sperling remained. "Wall Street was in the room before we arrived," says Faux, "and they were there after we left."
Bob Rubin is the poster child of the wrong side the Populist/Corporate split within the democratic party. As long as he and other impediments to real change hold sway within the democratic party, no election is a sure thing. 2008 may seem that way now, but remember how we felt in the lead up to 2004. Some people still don't understand that Republican lite will never beat Republican: they're just better at it than we are.

Oh yeah, and this cycle Bob Rubin is supporter of Hillary Clinton. Shocking, I know.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Explaining Hillary

So I'm sure you're sick of my ranting on about Hillary Clinton, Mark Penn and why I think her nomination would be a catastrophe. But, if you did want more, I wanted to link you to an old article by Ari Berman in the Nation that describes her way of thinking better than anything else I've read.
"The conservative caricature that Hillary is to the left of her husband is a myth. She, like Bill, talks a good game. She's aggressively courted organized labor and distanced herself from policies like NAFTA. She privately tells public-interest groups and liberal commentators that she's on their side. At the same time, she's premised her presidential campaign on a restoration of the Clinton era, frequently invoking "Bill and I" on the stump as a way of claiming credit for the perceived successes of the 1990s. She's expressed no qualms about her closest advisers' forays into the corporate world. Courting elements of the Democratic base while signaling to the corporate right that she won't shake up the system is a tricky juggling act. Even the First Lady of triangulation may not be able to pull it off."
It's a long one, but it's definitely worth the read.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mark Penn: The hits just keep on coming...

So I know I won't shut up about Mark Penn, but this guy is an utter disgrace and happens to be the Chief Strategist for the democratic front runner. Last time I talked about him, I mentioned that he is the CEO of a firm that engages in union-busting and does PR work for Blackwater. Going through his checklist of clients, he must have figured he was short on corrupt foreign politicians trying to force their way back into power. Not Anymore!
"Meanwhile, the Pakistani opposition party, led by Bhutto, has retained public relations giant Burson-Marsteller and its affiliates, the lobbying firm BKSH & Associates, and the polling firm Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates. The firm declined comment on its activities, which it is charging an initial $75,000, to be followed with monthly payments of $28,500.

The contract filed with the Justice Department does, however, give some insight into what all of the money buys. Among the promised services: surveys of “100 American political, journalistic, and business elites in Washington, D.C., and New York”; an “internal brainstorming session”; and setting up meetings for Bhutto in Washington “with an eye towards convincing U.S. officials that Prime Minister Bhutto is still relevant to further the democratic process in Pakistan.”
So a corrupt former politician is trying to squeeze her way back into power, and who does she pick to lobby her cause in DC? Hillary Clinton's chief strategist. Geekesque over at dailykos has a few questions that should be raised:

"Aside from the International Culture of Corruption this points to, this is disturbing in other ways:
  1. How can Hillary Clinton claim to have clear, unbiased judgment on Pakistan when her chief strategist has a vested interest in seeing one party return to power there? Is she issuing statements because that is what she believes, or because her chief strategist is biased in that regard?
  2. If Bhutto does return to power, will she not be seen as a puppet of Hillary Clinton in Pakistan and elsewhere?
  3. US lobbying firms working on behalf of foreign governments trying to influence US policy is bad enough. But, this unseemly fusion between lobbyist/PR and political figure is incredibly damning. Is Benazir Bhutto effectively getting a 2-1 deal on her money? Mark Penn is available to the highest bidder--do we really want someone whose business it is to shill on behalf of loathsome figures and who is a conflict of interest with feet shaping the policy of our next nominee?"
Well said, the first of many questions that should be asked of Mark Penn. I really can't wait to hear his response. Before you get your hopes up for a tearful apology/resignation (also known as a "Duke"), here are his previous excuses for being representing despicable causes.

When asked about his firm's work on Cintas' anti-union campaign, he said:
"I personally had zero involvement in any of the work related to Cintas."
When asked about his firm's PR work for Blackwater he said:
"It was a temporary assignment based on a relationship that has concluded"
So by taking the Alberto Gonzalez Defense, that leaves us to conclude one of two things: Either you are trying to cover up that you're the CEO of a company that does some downright shameful things... or you're so stupid and incompetent that it's a miracle that you can shave without killing yourself.
Good to see that they keep the ethics bar high over at the Clinton campaign.

Monday, November 5, 2007

From bad to worse

Musharraf imposes emergency rule, protests follow. It's interesting too that for whatever reason, most news stories didn't seem to buy the "He's doing this to fight terrorism" reasoning. That line has worked almost flawlessly for him since 9/11 in giving him a free pass him to do whatever he wanted, and it seems like these recent events have been the first time that that premise has been almost universally questioned. Within the country, the protests against the emergency rule could be a sign that he has overplayed his hand.
"He has held the whole nation of 160 million people hostage, just with the backing of the gun and the Western powers," said one protesting lawyer, M.S. Moghul.
One thing is clear, people understand who has been helping him stay in power and thwart the democratic process.
Hopefully this can help put a lie to the talking point of people hating the US because of "freedom" and "democracy" and "liberty". No, people hate us because of what we do, interfering in other countries affairs, supporting brutal leaders who prevent the will of the people, and enforcing a worldwide economic system that has a negative impact on many (To name a few). However, if someone says this on tv or anywhere else, they are said to be "blaming America first" and probably won't be invited back. While there are a few people who passionately hate the United States for ideological reasons, the vast, vast majority could give a crap about the bill of rights if we stopped actively fucking up their lives.
The sooner we realize this and the media stops giving life to that myth, the sooner our country may have a sane foreign policy.

Friday, November 2, 2007

AFSCME Hits the Bottle

AFSCME President Gerald McEntee:
This is no time to take chances. We need someone who knows how to fight and knows how to win.
Couldn't agree more.
Sisters and Brothers, Senator Clinton is a seasoned fighter. Believe me, she knows how to fight and she knows how to win.
Fight? When? For what? Flag-burning? Censorship? NAFTA? When has she put up a fight for anything that matters to to these people? Win? What has she won? A senate race in a blue state?
Wait... you say he's still talking?
Some of you may have seen last night’s debate.
Six guys against Hillary.
I’d call that a fair fight.
This is one strong woman.
What does this have to do with anything? Why does he have to sound like such an asshole when he says it?
This is the Democrat with the strength and experience to make change happen.
Strength to send our country into one senseless war and while trying to get us into another? Experience? Being first lady and one whole term in the senate? Really?
This is the Democrat with the strength and experience who will always stand up for working Americans.
What? I guess I must have missed that all that fighting for working Americans when she was too busy having a union busting chief adviser, voting for the bankruptcy bill, and being crowned as the candidate of big business. Is he still talking?
This is the Democrat with the strength and experience to take on the Republicans in the fall.
This is the Democrat who can win the White House in 2008.
This is actually the only democrat who would create the perfect storm for losing in 2008 by turning out the GOP base while keeping home the democratic base. This is probably the only candidate who would give the GOP a chance in a year where literally everything is pointing against whoever becomes the republican nominee.

So lets recap:

Hillary Clinton done the least for unions and union issues of any of the candidates in the democratic field. This fact (or having a union buster like Mark Penn as chief adviser alone) should disqualify her for any union endorsement. Period.
Instead of trying to defend this decision on her record or any sensible reason for an endorsement, he defends the decision by asserting that she is the only candidate that can win, something that is very questionable to say the least, and there are quite a few people would argue the exact opposite is true.

It's sad to see a union with such a great history and large membership being driven into the ground by a leadership that can't seem to put down the stupid pills.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

2007-2008 NBA Picks

So the NBA is getting underway, I figured I would put up my predictions here so we could all have a laugh in about a month or so. One note, looking at espn and almost everywhere else, I feel like people have forgotten that the wizards would have been serious contenders to get to the finals were their two best players not injured. They are being completely ignored, and in some cases not even picked to make the playoffs. Well, better that then being the favorites I guess.

The East
  1. Boston
  2. Toronto
  3. Washington
  4. Chicago
  5. Orlando
  6. Detroit
  7. New Jersey
  8. Miami
  9. Cleveland
  10. Milwaukee
  11. Charlotte
  12. Atlanta
  13. Indiana
  14. New York
  15. Philadelphia
The West
  1. Phoenix
  2. San Antonio
  3. Denver
  4. Houston
  5. Dallas
  6. Memphis
  7. Utah
  8. Seattle
  9. Golden State
  10. Portland
  11. New Orleans
  12. L.A. Lakers
  13. L.A. Clippers
  14. Sacramento
  15. Minnesota
Eastern Champ: Boston - Western Champ: Phoenix

NBA Champion: Phoenix

2007-2008 Award Tour

MVP: Carmelo Anthony
Most Improved: Andray Blatche
Rookie of the Year: Al Horford wins, but Durant and Juan Carlos Navarro will make it very close.

I'm curious what you think, put your picks in the comments if you'd like.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Obama Campaign Takes a Stupid Pill

First it was supporting the Peru FTA.
Then it was the appalling handling of gay denying gospel singer.
Then when you thought he was going to turn up the heat on Hillary, you find out that he meant to attack her on social security.
This is beyond frustrating. Barack Obama is an amazing person with all the tools to be arguable a near perfect candidate. (In fact if I had written this one pre-grand slam week ago, I might have said he is the J.D. Drew of politicians.) The problems haven't just been that he has been disappointing his supporters or making some backwards policy moves on both trade and the war. In the past weeks, his campaign has been making some really bonehead political moves, and it's just been painful to watch.
So Senator Obama, here is some unsolicited advice from someone who has no absolutely experience or education on how to run a campaign. Instead of attacking Hillary Clinton on an issue where you don't differ like social security, why not constantly bring up subjects where she has been completely out of touch with democratic voters? A few examples:
  1. The fact that she opposes how the Iraq war was handled, and NOT the Iraq war itself.
  2. The fact that until 2006, not only was she a supporter/defender of the war, but she would regularly demonize other democrats who were criticizing it.
  3. The fact that she has been extremely vague about her plan to withdraw from Iraq, and going to great lengths to avoid discussing how long she would keep troops in the country.
  4. Her warmongering/lack of learning from mistakes with Iran, specifically voting yes on the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment.
  5. And just as a personal favor to me, next time you speak at a union hall, maybe mention the fact that her chief strategist is the CEO of a union-busting firm. Or you could you bring up that her chief strategist's firm represents Blackwater. But enough about Mark Penn, I promise, there will be more on him later.
This list could go on and on, but any of these will do. So please Barack, I'm begging you. I know you have been hesitant to go on the all-out attack, and you don't have to. Just point out some of these incredibly unpopular positions, and maybe, just maybe, I'll stop seeing these cars with both Hillary 08' and "End the War" bumper stickers.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Edwards announces opposition to new Free Trade deals

Sorry for the lack of postings, its been a busy week. However, this is huge.
The Democratic presidential field tilted to the left over the weekend as John Edwards came out against the US free trade agreement with Peru. Mr. Edwards is the first leading contender for the nomination to oppose the pact with the Latin American nation, now making its way through Congress.
This sets the stage for what could be an actual debate over corporate interests in the democratic party. With Obama having already pissed me (and others) off by supporting this deal, this forces Hillary Clinton to show her hand.
The vote on the Peru agreement will be a key test of the New York senator's desire to distance herself from her husband's legacy, which includes passing the North American Free Trade Agreement, now unpopular with the party's grassroots.
"This is where the rubber hits the road and we find out how far Hillary thinks she needs to go on trade to court the Democratic base. Peru is about to go to a Senate vote so she can't duck the issue," said Lori Wallach, a critic of the deal at Global Trade Watch.
In addition, as Sirota points out, this move places the major split within the democratic party front and center. I don't consider myself a supporter of anyone in the race yet, I see myself as more of a dork who likes to talk about it a lot. However, as far as showing actual leadership on such a vitally important issue, this is exactly what I want to see. Edwards is also the first candidate who has made me consider giving them 20 bucks that I don't really have, so take that for what it's worth. This is a smart move, and hopefully it can shake up the stale media narrative and shift the debate to the real differences between these candidates.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Labor rights - NAFTA style

One of Five:
"Masked gunmen dumped a Guatemalan banana picker's bullet-ridden corpse yards from fields of fruit bound for the United States, a grim reminder of the risks of organizing labor in the Central American country. Marco Tulio Ramirez, killed last month, was the fifth Guatemalan labor leader murdered this year."
NAFTA and CAFTA promised labor rights for workers for all the countries in the agreement, and there even though there is countless evidence to the contrary, it's either written off or ignored all together. This is why when looking ahead at the new series of trade agreements in front of congress, we need to remember one thing: Having strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards ARE NOT THE GOALS of these agreements - THEY ARE THE OBSTACLES.
Case and Point: Following the negotiations of the Great May Sellout, Pelosi and Rangel defended their mind boggling decision to negotiate more Free Trade agreements with President Bush in secret by explaining that these agreements were different, and that there were labor and environmental protections in the deal. The problem with that?
"The US Chamber of Commerce welcomed the bipartisan deal, saying it would secure support for Congressional approval of the four pending bilateral trade agreements... [Said Tom Donohue, president and chief executive of the world's largest business federation.] "we are encouraged by assurances that the labor provisions cannot be read to require compliance with ILO Conventions."
The US Chamber of Commerce sees it as a positive that these standards cannot be enforced either in the United States, or any of the countries where deals are still pending. We should probably give them credit for being at least being honest, and admitting the true motive of these free trade agreements... but it doesn't make it any better. The point here is that until the fundamental model of these deals is changed, different results cannot be expected. And as the situation in Guatemala shows, the consequences of these failures are often matters of life and death.

The MD Primary

Towards the end of the glorious Red Sox game yesterday, I asked my mom (A diehard Obama supporter), when she would begin to get nervous about the democratic primary. She said that she wouldn't be nervous, because there wasn't anything she could do about. Now if you know me or my family, you know that is she didn't mean that voting in general didn't matter, or that one vote is not important. What bothered me was that her attitude wasn't just a way of saying, "Hey, he's getting my vote, what more can I do?". It was actually a pretty dead on take to the situation and a strong indictment of the problems of our primary system. Being registered to vote in Maryland, my vote on February 12th is over a month after the first states and a week after "Super Tuesday" and will very likely have no impact at all on the race.
The ridiculousness of Iowa and New Hampshire being so influential has always bothered me, but there was something about hearing it in those stark terms that hit me.
Although if we had a national primary, the Bill Richardson wouldn't have given us this defense of Iowa importance:
"Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord, should be the first caucus and primary"
I'm glad Bill cleared that one up for us.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver: Assholes

Tonight they both take a page from the Eric Wynalda School of Announcing, where a sportscaster chooses a player who they already dislike, and then they proceed to trash them all game long for absolutely no reason. Tonight that player is Manny Ramirez, and because of his non-offensive and downright sensible comments before the game, they decide to throw him under the bus for being confused about a play that it took them 10 minutes and 40 replays to not understand.
Of course letting personal hatred of a player lead to a completely over the top and blown out of proportion reaction is nothing new to Buck, whose idiotic "That is a disgusting act" comment about a Randy Moss TD celebration is now legendary. Good to see him keep that streak going.

The Colonial Congress: The Berlin Biden plan

Why limit the colonialism of our Iraq policy to just empty rhetoric, its about time for someone to step up and put some walk behind that talk. Enter Joe Biden and Sam Brownback:
"The clunkly named Biden-Brownback Iraq Federalism Bipartisan Amendment is the latest in a series of calls for a "soft partition" of Iraq into three semiautonomous regions -- split up according to ethnicity and sect -- that appear to be gaining currency in Washington."
In an article that finally points some of the fatal flaws of this plan, the writer Joshua Holland makes my day by pointing out an obvious but often ignored comparison:
"Proponents of the plan deserve credit for understanding that there's no military solution to be found in Iraq -- that a political conflict requires a political fix. This already puts them miles ahead of the administration and defenders of the status quo, and they should be commended for seeking a practical way out of the mess created by the U.S. invasion.
But Iraqis do not live in neat enclaves; 4 million have already been forced to flee their homes by sectarian and separatist militias, and thousands more have been killed in the process. Whatever the intentions of the proponents of the plan might be, calling for more of the same is profoundly immoral, and doing so from the remote confines of Washington conference rooms is reminiscent of earlier eras in which Western powers carved up distant lands by drawing new lines on the map."
Holland's whole article is worth reading, simply because this plan has been given a lot of support from a lot of different places, and its fundamental problems are rarely discussed. Besides the fact that this plan would likely lead to more violence and ethnic cleansing in Iraq, the larger colonial point is the one that the media has ignored. When did this become our decision? What better way to show the world the power of democratic rule than dividing their country into pieces for them. The logic of "These savages clearly don't know what their doing, so we'll have to do it for them" is so eerily similar to the justifications of the 1800s that it's frightening.
Just for the record, how does Joe Biden respond to the Iraqis themselves criticizing his plan?
"Other Iraqi politicians have said we have no right to tell the Iraqis [what to do]," Biden told reporters. "Let me tell you, we have a right. Three thousand and eight hundred dead. Twenty seven thousand wounded. Billions of dollars. Let me tell you as President of the United States, they'd have to understand full well that if they don't keep their commitment to implement their constitution then they're on their own. And so, ladies and gentlemen, the idea that al Maliki questions whether or not we have a right to express our opinion, he'd better get it straight real quick."
Damn right he better! If we decide to send our military into a country for absolutely no reason, and then kill 3800 of our own people, several hundred thousand Iraqi civilians, and waste billions of our own dollars all while destroying all aspects of their society, then they better damn well let us decide how to run their country! I mean that's what democracy is all about, right? The nerve! We're trying to do these savages a favor and bring them out of the stone-age; then they have the nerve to question our right to do so.

Ahhh... the logic of colonialism, as disgusting and immoral today as it was 500 years ago.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Colonial Congress

Long before I had a blog, I wanted to write something about the increasingly colonial rhetoric that many of the democrats had adopted during the Iraq war debate. One of the most frustrating aspects of this rhetoric was that it was being used by people who I otherwise liked. (Jim Webb and Jon Tester are some of the first names that come to mind)

However, the most striking example of this came when I attended the Take Back America conference and Hillary Clinton addressed the crowd about the Iraq war, and placed the blame of that smoldering mess on the Iraqi people and government. After that speech, my aunt Helen and I were completely stunned. It could have been one of the more offensive speeches I had ever head, or at least live. She was boo-ed, but not nearly as much as it deserved. Not only would she not begin to accept responsibility for her foolish vote and war cheer-leading for years that followed, but she actually blamed the mess on the Iraqis themselves.

In my mind this seemed quite similar to the rhetoric of the colonial era, where it was the noble Europeans with their high minded idealism taming savages throughout the world. At one point around the time of Clinton's speech, some focus group must have shown this to be effective, because it seemed to really take off and become more widespread. Now, it is almost commonplace among most politicians, and it is something to keep an eye on, and be very concerned about as the situation in Iraq gets worse, and the political pressure to withdraw heightens.

Sorry for the rambling nature of this post, but I just wanted to get some of this out there before I wrote about it further. And sadly, I believe there is a strong undercurrent of racism that exists just below the surface of our culture and discourse, which means that there is a market for this type of talk out there. And if there is a market for this nonsense, someone will be there to take the bait.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Draft Gore!: Uh... let's not and say we did

After the nobel prize win last week, the draft Al Gore movement is in full effect once again, and once again, I just don't get it. I mean, I understand he has raised awareness of global warming and spoken out against the war in recent years, both of which should be commended.
But looking at rest of his history:

* Strongly promoting NAFTA for the Clinton administration, which has and continues to have disastrous consequences for the environment as well as labor rights throughout North America

* His wife's hobby is censorship. (By the way, apparently Tipper Gore's awakening to the need for censorship was hearing her daughter play "Darling Nikki" by Prince. Seriously, if Prince wasn't enough of a badass, he can legitimately claim that his song singlehandedly caused music censorship!)

* He was a holier-than thou asshole during the 2000 campaign, opting to distance himself from Clinton because his advisers thought it would be damaging to be seen with a president with a 60-some percent approval rating.

* His running mate: Joe Lieberman, who is such a champion of progressive causes that he was forced to leave the democratic party.

* HE LOST TO GEORGE W. BUSH! Well, I mean he didn't lose, but the fact that it was that close is downright criminal! Granted, he didn't lose to the 2007-warmongering-nutjob W that we see today. No, he only lost to the Ex-coke-head-execution-happy-governor that was 2000 George W. Bush. Granted the 2008 field of republicans doesn't look much better, but I wouldn't even trust this guy to even carry his own state. Oh wait, Nevermind.

Look, I could see if some people supported him just to right the wrongs of 2000, but his fanatical support at generally very progressive and plugged-in places like dailykos that truly boggles my mind. I mean even if I liked his politics more, who in their right mind would trust him to win? Would we nominate Kerry again? Of course not! So why Gore? This is definitely one of those things where the more I think about it, the less I understand it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wiz vs. Cavs: Pre-season notes

  • We look good... it's too early to get overly excited but not bad for a first impression of the 2007-2008 season.
  • Neither Gil or Caron got hurt. Can't emphasize that one enough.
  • The rookies look like they can contribute, and Dominic McGuire looks like he could evolve into a shut down defensive player in a couple of years, and seriously contribute this year.
  • Watching Brendan Haywood block Z's shot shot took me back 5 or so months and I couldn't help but wonder: If Brendan and Eddie Jordan hadn't been in the middle of a pissing match, maybe Z wouldn't have looked like KG and we could have taken at least game off the Cavs.
  • Also, you should note that this is the first positive thing I've said about Brendan in about 10-12 months. Hey, it's a new season - clean slate right?
  • Cleveland looked truly terrible, and I would not be surprised if they really struggled this year. We can't forget that this was possibly the worst team to make it to the finals in NBA history, and this year with a stronger east, they should be in serious trouble. But that being said, Lebron still has enough skill to make the 8th spot in the east lining up with 4 strangers, even with the handicap of Mike Brown's coaching. Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2007-2008 Cleveland Cavaliers!

Hillary Clinton is smarter than you

As far as being condescending goes... this just about takes the cake.

"Rolph was one of several hundred people who turned out in this small town in northern Iowa for Clinton's appearance. When she called on him for a question, he pulled out a piece of paper and read a question about Iran.
Rolph asked Clinton to explain her Senate vote Wednesday for a resolution urging the Bush administration to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. Rolph interpreted that measure as giving Bush authority to use military action against the Iranians."

Good question! When choosing our next president, it's probably a good idea to revisit the biggest judgment call that any of them has made, and see how they they feel about it now. The only possibly options for the democratic nominee should be:
1. They were right in 2002, allowing them to begin the first minute of each debates by flicking off all other candidates. (Obama, Kucinich)
2. They were wrong in 2002, but see it at the biggest mistake they ever made. Not nearly as good, but at least they admit their colossal error. (Edwards, Dodd, Richardson)
But thanks to the mind blowing stupidity of a certain front runner, we have a third option:
3. Does everything possible to deny the 2002 vote was a mistake, and then makes what many (like Mr. Rolph) see as the exact same mistake only on this time on the AIPAC written bill intended to provoke a confrontation with Iran.

Back to the exchange, so how does she respond to this VERY LEGITIMATE question?
She offered a detailed description of the resolution, which she said stressed robust diplomacy that could lead to imposing sanctions against Iran, and then pointedly said to Rolph that her view wasn't in "what you read to me, that somebody obviously sent to you."

Stupid person! How dare you read about the stupid stuff that I do and then ask me to explain why it's not stupid! Obviously a plant! What else could it be?
"I take exception," Rolph interjected. "This is my own research."

His OWN research? Just who the hell does he think he is? Come on Hillary! Take this fucker down a notch!
"Well, then, I apologize. It's just that I've been asked the very same question in three other places," she said."

Three other questions? The Not-Getting-Us-Into-Another-Senseless-War lobby must have planned for weeks to pull this trick off! Bastards!

Or... maybe, just maybe, people around the country are tired being lied to at every turn, and want basic answers to important questions before they make you the most powerful person in the world.

This exchange is even more damning then the vote itself in my mind. It's beyond doing the wrong thing to begin with, and it's beyond not having learned anything from your mistakes. The contempt and condescension towards the average citizen seen in this exchange was truly shocking, even to someone who doesn't expect much from her like myself.
And speaking of Hillary, there will be more, much more on her chief campaign adviser Mark Penn in the next couple of days. Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The teams are alright

Not a bad weekend for my squads to say the least. The skins got a comfortable win today against a not awful lions team. The gators did lose a heart breaker at LSU, but the overall picture is looking good. Arsenal got three points this morning, the sox swept, and the caps start the season 2 and 0. And they look good too. I thought people were nuts for predicting them to be among the worst teams in the league this year, but they could be even better than I thought. Everyone is clicking and after seeing both the thrashers and canes, I really think that we can take the division. I know it's early, but you can't blame me for being excited.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Progressives vs. Partisans

A very good essay by David Sirota that sums up that sinking feeling that many progressives have felt in recent times.
"Some of my friends may be angry at me for writing all this - but it ain't personal, and more importantly if we progressives don't engage in some self-reflection when our side has so clearly driven into a ditch, then we won't become the movement we need to become to improve this country. I am a progressive before I am a partisan - and I reject Partisan War Syndrome that says we must all just applaud every single tactic and decision, no matter how unproductive to the cause."

By the way, its not that long, so just read the whole thing if you have the time - I promise it'll be worth it.

I especially like him bringing up the difference between a partisan and movement progressive. The partisan way of thinking was everywhere at college, from the college dems to people who don't follow facts or issues, and would just boo anything Republican and cheer anything Democratic. It's an easy time to be a partisan these days, Bush is horribly unpopular, Larry Craig is hilarious and there is scandal after scandal making republicans(rightfully so, I'd say) as the butt of most jokes. But here's the difference: None of those punchlines or too-funny-to-be-true scandals you'll hear people gloating and joking about will accomplish anything. True, it hurts the right at the moment, and that's always good, but it's what you do with this pile of rubble that the republicans left us... that's what matters. And so far, its been hugely disappointing on too many topics to name. But that's because like the rest of the country, the congress, interest groups and think tanks are also divided between the movement progressives and the partisans. And until that power shifts, its going to be tough. Now, it's not hopeless by any means... in fact, in the last decade (especially since 2004) there has been a lot of positive change.
It's just gonna be a long fight, that's all.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fight over CAFTA continues in Costa Rica

Major protests against the agreement yesterday in Costa Rica.

"More than 100,000 Costa Ricans, some dressed as skeletons, protested a U.S. trade pact on Sunday they say will flood their country with cheap farm goods and cause job losses."

"The trade deal is putting at risk our workers' rights. We need an accord with the United States, but not this way," said Juan Chacon, a 50-year-old computer technician."

A government official told Reuters that more than 100,000 people turned out for the demonstration, a huge protest in a country of 4 million."

There has been almost no coverage of this in the US, but there is a referendum scheduled for October 7th in Costa Rica on the agreement. The agreement has been approved (by rather shady and downright disgraceful means) in the US since 2005, but Costa Rica is the only country that must approve the deal by a referendum. The results should be interesting. There is also a wild PR campaign in favor of the deal which other than the lack of facts, has led to some downright hilarious ads:

It kind of reminds me of the Monsignor Martinez, but with more Bernie Sanders.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Emanuel and myth get shut down on Real Time

Watching Rahm Emanuel getting taken to task by Michael Eric Dyson and Bill Maher was simply beautiful after hearing this nonsense parroted for weeks and weeks. Emanuel launches deep into a tearful speech about how the troops need armored humvees, they even (gasp!) live in his district, and how he just can't bear to send them home. And then something cool happens: The audience heckled him. They aren't buying it, and it's about damn time!

Here's the video, you can skip ahead to 5:30 if you want the part I'm talking about:

Badass! I figured out how to embed youtube clips! This discovery is going to come back and haunt everyone come NBA season...

Look, its taken some time, but I think the left is finally getting tired of being lied to by their own party. I've noticed both talking to friends and just seeing the reactions of people online, I think many have finally reached the breaking point. And just as a side note, the more this anger builds, I think the first people to feel it will be those running for president. Hillary Clinton, that means you'll get hit first... Obama, take this as your warning.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Senate: "Two wars not enough"

Taking a break between condemning a newspaper ad and doing nothing to end the disastrous war in Iraq, the senate decided on Wednesday to vote in favor escalating tensions with Iran. Even worse, the measure passed with that always lovely-reminiscent of the Iraq authorization bipartisanship.
Sen Webb:
"At best, it’s a deliberate attempt to divert attention from a failed diplomatic policy. At worst, it could be read as a backdoor method of gaining Congressional validation for military action, without one hearing and without serious debate"

He also adds:
"Those who regret their vote five years ago to authorize military action in Iraq should think hard before supporting this approach. Because, in my view, it has the same potential to do harm where many are seeking to do good."

Cut to Hillary Clinton voting...... Yes!!!

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a hawk - and one who doesn't learn at that. Whoever you 40 percent of democrats are, please wake the hell up!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Last night's debate

A few thoughts on the Tim Russert Debate
-Note to Hillary: Laughing in response to a question about her vote yesterday trying provoke war with Iran... not a good look.
-Obama had pissed me off citing the innocent bystander position, but redeemed some of that by claiming that he wanted to fight to end the war before Bush is out of office. I really, really, really wish that I believed it more. One of those walk the walk if you talk the talk things, and so far, there has been no walk.
-Richardson made a good point about about how the key to immigration reform is creating jobs in Mexico. Too bad that point came from Bill Richardson, the promoter of NAFTA-which is largely responsible the lowered wages and lost jobs in Mexico - and as a result is a good deal responsible for the increase in illegal immigration during the 1990s.(Bang head on table)
-I thought Edwards was good at citing how he had learned from his Iraq war vote, and due to her vote yesterday, Clinton clearly did not. The more clear attacks on her abysmal positions from either Edwards or Obama the better.
-Kucinich made me happy by tying illegal immigration to NAFTA and the WTO in a televised debate. I'll expand on why I completely agree and it drives me insane that trade has been left out of the immigration debate some other time.
-Tim Russert: Leave the torture senario nonsense for 24, its much more interesting to watch Kiefer Sutherland run around torturing people then 8 candidates repeat the same thing.
-One last note: The environment? education? They seemed mostly to have lost out compared to favorite bible verse and baseball team. Even if someone was a Yankees, Duke and Cowboys fan - IT DOESN'T MATTER IN A PRESIDENTIAL RACE!

Well maybe if they were a cowboys fan... then it becomes a character issue.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Innocent Bystander Fable

The innocent bystander fable was coined by David Sirota earlier this year to describe the behavior of democrats who don't have the courage to do what is necessary to end the Iraq war, so instead they rely on the myth that they are helpless to change any aspect of the policy. He recently wrote an update on this phenomenon which includes a youtube clip of it in action, here are his words on how this tactic is so misleading:
"And again folks, claiming Democrats have no power to stop the war or that they need any more than 41 Senate votes to stop the war is a lie - and a deliberate one coming from people who are "experts" and who thus know precisely how the Congress works."

Of all the recent speeches on the war, I expect this level of lying and dishonesty from Republicans, especially on the war, but it is much more infuriating when it comes from the party who is our only hope to end it.

Update: Wow, both Obama and Clinton repeat this myth while answering the first two questions of the debate tonight. Not a good sign of things to come.

Mr. O'Reilly goes to Harlem...

He makes the shocking revelation that black people... can eat dinner just like... (Gasp!) white people.
And if that wasn't enough:
"There wasn't one person in Sylvia's(The Restaurant) who was screaming,
'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.'"

Like Don Imus, it shouldn't surprise people that Bill "Don't steal my hubcaps" O'Reilly said something racist and stupid, but I guess it's better that the media pays attention to this type of stuff several years late rather than not at all.

Update: I was talking to my dad about this earlier and I think he had the best take on it. He joked that could have been seen as a breakthrough in race relations in the 1920s and I think that goes a long way in explaining O'Reilly's world view.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I started this blog for a several reasons. I wanted to be a part of the expanding network of progressive blogs, and needed a sort of home to start from. Although much of that dialogue will take place when I post something on a larger site, I will link to everything that I write here. In addition to that purpose, I think this would be good place to link to articles that I think other people might be interested in, a place for funny/stupid links, and some sports/music rambling. Whether you agree or disagree with what's said, I hope you all enjoy it and let me know what you think. Debate is always welcome... that's what the comments are for and I hope to see you there!