Monday, October 31, 2005
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
[Emphasis added.] This is the intro to a long letter to Sen. Edward Kennedy posted this evening on DailyKos by Todd Johnston. Mr. Johnston is nobody famous as far as I know. He's just a thoughtful working adult with no special access to any persons of power. He doesn't spell or punctuate especially well. And yet I know his letter will be carefully read by a Kennedy staffer. It will be certainly be brought to the senator's attention. Sen. Kennedy may even read the letter himself, and he will most definitely be involved in crafting a reply. He might even sit down and type it himself.
Why? Because Daily Kos is the largest political blog on earth. It averages 2 million page views per week and rising. Its audience is educated, affluent, overwhelmingly Democratic, and activist - 63% have donated money to political causes. According to a recent study, it outranks the top five GOP blogs combined. And if Mr. Johnson's letter reached the top of the Kos recommended list (which it did), then it will be read by all those activists along with every other legislator in DC on both sides of the aisle, all of the strategists and most of the media. You can bet Sen. Kennedy will pay attention.
Daily Kos got where it is through a combination of luck, timing, and smarts. Media windbags may have painted the site as hard left, excitable, dismissible... but those who visit on a regular basis understand that its population is diverse and generally thoughtful, with writers from the far corners of law, politics, business, academia, media, and even some of those continents way over there in Europe. The main thing Kos readers have in common is that they are SERIOUSLY pissed off. That doesn't mean they're foolish or naive.
I don't write much on that site. But it's the daily visits of people like me - asking questions, commenting, pushing up the stats, sending more people to the site, responding to calls for action, sending money - that have built the first stirrings of a left wing echo chamber. People are hearing us, and it is starting to make a difference.
Citizen Johnston puts some excellent questions to Sen. Kennedy about Iraq, intelligence, weapons, and the runup to the war. Imagine the senator reading this section knowing that a million people of influence are looking over his shoulder:
or this one:
The ending's pretty good, too:
Senator Kennedy is friend not foe, but friends need to be held accountable when it's a matter of importance. This is such a matter. And while he may not give us satisfactory answers, he will at least think about the questions. In my tiny way I helped make this possible. And that's why I bother.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Even better, he notes an important difference between Monicagate and Treasongate (aside from their subject matter, purpose, the number of people killed by them, the intellect of the presidents involved, and every other single thing): the president's ability to listen.
Whereas Clinton called in tough-minded advisors and listened to them, this president "likes having his assed kissed." The Miers-Bush correspondence "belongs in the Brown Nosers Hall of Fame." The current staff - "a C team if ever there was one" - is loaded with "weak-kneed toadies," "suckups and sycophants," throne-sniffers, over-the-shoulder-lookers, and people who have stopped taking notes in meetings but continue to assure the Beloved Leader he's the victim of a partisan plot.
Best paragraph ever written about our titanic mediocrity in chief:
Hope he doesn't get it anytime soon.
Hat tip brandido.
Somewhere I heard rumors of an actual Bork nomination in the wind. Other tinfoilers are warning of Terra Alerts. Be prepared.
- The White House will be running a communications strategy, so beware of anything they say. In the past 24-hours, the President has given a series of speeches discussing every aspect of his presidency (e.g., business as usual). But they will go on the attack very soon.
- Listen for magic words. Expect the White House to try to control debate by repeating keywords over and over again. So far, they have been quiet. But the specter of 9/11 is never far off. Beware of White House spokesmen who try to discuss 9/11.
- Stay focused. The real issue tomorow is crimes committed by the White House to trick the American people into supporting a war. There is no other issue that comes close to this, tomorrow.
- Do not talk about whether we should stay or pull out of Iraq. That is an important topic, but it will be a distraction tomorrow. The issue is crimes committed against the American people by top officials at the White House.
- Read the White House website. This will help to understand what strategy they are launching.
- Use only the President's name. This crisis is about the President of the United States, the people he hired, the decisions he made and the methods he used. Do not get distracted by too much talk about the names of aides.
- Read a variety of news sources. Follow the story in a variety of media (e.g., print, TV, blogs) to get a full picture of what is going on. Don't become a CNN zombie.
- Talk to co-workers and friends about what's happening. It is important that all Americans follow what is happening. Spread the news. Be the media.
- Keep following the story. It is likely that the story will change several times before it is over.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
"People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."Rosa Louise Parks, 1913-2005
Rest in Peace
(arrest photo via Boingboing.net)
Great way to rebuild community. (Hat tip Aravosis)
Monday, October 24, 2005
Was it... losing Osama Bin Laden, not finding WMD's, faking the connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein? ...Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, forged Niger documents, 51 ignored FAA warnings about Al Qaeda hijackings? ...school dropouts, intelligent design, fear of Avian flu, skyrocketing deficits, increased abortions, explosive government spending, ...even the tragic aftermath of Katrina? No. It was Harriet Miers.
I know these folks have been waiting biblical eons to claim their Total Victory of Righteous Dominion Over the Courts Forever, but still. All that fabled discipline, undone so fast? It's startling.
Mind you, I am not complaining. Listen:
Those are the words of Josh Trevino, a fiercely conservative and influential writer for the other side. He continues:
"The titanic mediocrity who leads our nation." Gaze at those words a moment and smile. Who cares what made them speak out, when they get to the heart of matter like this?
Hat tip to mcjoan and to this writer (link now broken).
Sunday, October 23, 2005
- Blue = net disapproval
- Red = approval
- Purple = tied
UPDATE: Duh. That would be seven states approving if you remember to include Alaska.
Meanwhile, over at ABC's This Week, Dean spent Sunday morning elaborating what sounds like a pretty good Democratic agenda:
- Strong national defense (which includes never sending troops abroad without telling them the truth about why they're going and adequately arming them)
- Honesty in government
- Balancing the budget after the most fiscally imprudent administration in our lifetime
- Restoring jobs
- Repairing the shredded social safety net for middle class Americans
- A health care system that benefits everybody
- An education system that gives opportunity to all Americans again
- Freedom from government interference in private lives
- Ethics legislation, electoral reform, campaign financing reform
- An honest plan for getting out of Iraq
[Emphasis added.] He was by all accounts direct, tough, and candid. Dean is getting pretty good at staying on message, avoiding minefields, and still managing to sound genuine. One viewer said watching him made her wistful thinking of what might have been: "a smart, competent, compassionate leader in for the common good and not for himself." Anne from Vermont agreed, adding she'd often thought the big difference between the two parties could be stated very simply:
- Conservatives: Me
- Democrats: Us
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Read if only for the image of Bush, deprived of his evil genius Rove, "reduced to wandering around the White House bumping into walls like a robot on the blink."
UPDATE: I changed the link so it would lead to Wolcott's home page, as his permalinks don't seem to be working.
Friday, October 21, 2005
And for more ammo and a bit of a shocker, check out conservative congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) comparing Rumsfeld to Kim Jong-Il (transcript, audio), invoking the wisdom of Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), and calling administration smear tactics "unacceptable," "unimaginable, " and "un-American."
Just as a footnote, you don't suppose Mr. Weldon's sudden fit of courage has anything to do with that challenge from Fighting Dem and Iraq veteran Byran Lentz?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
UPDATE from Aravosis, who notes that Bork thinks the Supreme Court is "left-leaning" despite the fact that 7 out of 9 justices were appointed by Republicans:
This is Bryan Lentz, running for Congress in Pennsylvania's seventh district (suburban Philadelphia) against Republican Curt Weldon. Lentz, a Major in the U.S. Army, served in Iraq and oversaw civil reconstruction efforts around Mosul. Understandably, he has a great deal to say on the subject of Iraq, troop withdrawal, the administration's failure to plan, and other related topics. Here he is on reconstruction efforts:
He notes that Republicans will continue to brand anyone questioning the war effort as anti-war, anti-troop, anti-American and calls this tactic "a cheap trick." Best quote:
They will try, but I doubt even the GOP can smear Lentz as unAmerican.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
See, former journalists? It's not that hard.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Saturday, October 15, 2005
We're still on our Great Western Grandchildren Odyssey but I'd be there in a heartbeat otherwise. Please consider showing up on Sunday afteroon in Portland, Munjoy Hill - details at Maine Won't Discriminate, and consider giving them a donation while you're at it. Thanks.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
And the WSJ and Bloomberg (goddamn librul media) are going after... Rove and Cheney!
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby
Vice President Dick Cheney
President George W. Bush
Hat tip to madhaus.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Saturday, October 08, 2005
- God wanted him to run for president
- God speaks through him
- God directs our policies in the Middle East
- Our nation's enemies will be destroyed in a great crusade
- American liberty is God's gift to humanity
- The war against terror is a war against Satan
- God put Bush in the White House, since the American people certainly didn't.*
* Lieutenant General William Boykin, now deputy under-secretary of defence for intelligence.
Friday, October 07, 2005
He has unique credibility on this issue and may just make a difference:
Here's a thought: maybe it's about time somebody in that group of "top fundraisers, ambassadors, senators and Cabinet secretaries" found the moral fiber to speak up directly instead of making Danforth do all the work. It's got to be safer to come out of your foxholes now anyway, what with the poll numbers and all.
Hat tip to KTinOhio.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
The story has been circulating for several years and dismissed as internet crankery, but now we have this:
Thanks to Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
"Harriet Miers is a taut, nervous, anxious personality... In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met."
And Bush returns the favor, calling her "a pit bull in size 6 shoes."
If you have time to spare and a few mean bones in your body, then you should check out the Miers parody blog. Sample entry:
Bonus: it's all in pink.
Meanwhile, Kos noted the other day that Bush is not only looking tired, he's sounding tired. His message, once so crisp and disciplined, has been recycled so often it sounds shopworn even to true believers. "Stay the course," "We will not fail," "Strong," "Hard work," etc., etc.... Snore.
So as a public service, Kos invited his readers to come up with fresh new slogans that better capture the spirit of this administration and all it can do. Kossacks jumped right in:
This Job Sucks. Can I Be Baseball Commissioner Now?
9/11 Blah Blah Blah 9/11 Yada Yada 9/11
- Paul in Berkeley
We Had to Destroy the Country in Order to Save It
- For Dean in Dixie
Don’t Worry – Jeb’ll Fix Things
Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over
- The Onion
Ha! Fooled You Twice!
If Your With Us, Your Dumb as Dirt
- rok for Dean
That last one is my personal favorite, but this next one is pithier and probably more workable:
I'd love to see "Death and Tax Cuts" bumper stickers made up for every GOP candidate in the 2006 elections.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Don't demand an apology from the gambling-addled morals czar. Don't settle for his reedy "hypothesis" defense. A hypothesis is, after all, somebody's educated opinion auditioning for the truth.
Let's consider Mr. Bennett's educated opinion. Mr. Bennett didn't say that aborting poor babies would reduce crime. He did not discuss illegitimate babies, or unwanted babies, or babies born in crime-ridden neighborhoods, or babies born to teenagers, or babies born to ignorant people, or babies born to drug addicts, or babies born in districts with abysmal public schools. We've all read Freakonomics; we understand that such a list has a place in an economic theories about crime. We also know that hypothetically aborting that list would - given the nature of our American underclass - net lots of hypothetical black babies, along with plenty of babies answering to other descriptions. It would also be ethically abhorrent.
Mr. Bennett did not say this. His said that aborting "every black baby in this country" would reduce crime. (And would be ethically abhorrent.)
Should we infer that Mr. Bennett meant "black" here as shorthand for "a great big catalog of pathologies"? Heaven forfend. Mr. Bennett was engaging in hyperbole. Silly reader! He took a point to its ridiculous extreme to show the dangers of unwarranted extrapolation.
But according to this argument, Mr. Bennett could with equal ease have theorized that crime rates would drop if we aborted all white babies, or male babies, or babies born in cities, or babies born below the Mason-Dixon Line, or babies born in states beginning with the letters S, T, U, P, I, or D. Going further, Mr. Bennett could have posited that aborting all babies would reduce future crime.
Mr. Bennett did not say this. He said that aborting "every black baby in this country" would reduce crime. (And be ethically abhorrent.)
Forget that his hypothesis might test out mathematically. So might all the others - every crazy last one of them. Ask yourself this: With regard to black people, what is the educated opinion of Mr. Bennett?
Then fire his ass.
Hat tip to balletshooz for picture and righteous rant.