Thursday, November 30, 2006

"I blame the media for this"

Digby on the scope of this administration's failures:

I blame the media for this. After 9/11 they lost their minds and became unthinking hagiographers and adminstration cheerleaders to an absurd extent. The man's halting, incoherent first press conference after 9/11 scared me more than the attacks and yet the press corps behaved as if they were in the presence of a God whose stuttering, meandering gibberish were words uttered from on high. He was called a genius and compared to Winston Churchill. Paeans to his greatness were turned into best sellers. His "gut" was infallible. It was patently obvious that he was in over his head and yet this bizarre, almost hallucinogenic image of the man emerged in the media that actually made me question my sanity at times. It took years for this trance to wear off with a majority of the public and even longer in the media. It was one of the strangest phenomenons I've ever observed.

Until recently, however, I was never quite sure if Bush himself believed it. It appears that he did. Big time. And that belief in his own hype created a completely dysfunctional organization. I suspect that what started out as a shield by Cheney and Rove to narrow the influences upon him may have morphed into a bubble designed to keep him from completely spinning out of control. But it couldn't keep him from making decisions, and make them he did, without thought or analysis or knowledge. His belief in his "gut" and God's anointment has been leading this nation since 9/11. Combined with Cheney's megalomaniacal belief in untrammelled executive power it has been a disaster. (In fact, Cheney could not have chosen a better subject to more thoroughly discredit his theory than Junior.)

I understand that it is difficult to know in advance what constitutes a real leader. A resume isn't enough to make one (although it's certainly better than not having one at all) and depending on personality or symbols isn't enough either. I don't know what the magic formula is. I do know that when someone speaks like a fool and acts like a spoiled child and appears to be "intellectually uncurious" and has never done anything in life that would give you a clue that he knows how to govern or lead -- well, it's not a good idea to make that person the most powerful person on the planet. If we've learned nothing else, I hope we have learned that.

The president matters. But whether or not we want to have a beer with him or whether or not we approve of his private life is not what matters about him or her. These are false hueristics and they don't add up to leadership any more than years of political experience translates into great political skills. Citizens need to think a little bit harder about this choice, look a little deeper, ask some serious questions. Part of the job is certainly PR and a president does have to be the star of the national TV show for four years. But it's a lot more than that and Americans need to rediscover a healthy sense of the requirements of this particular job.

Most importantly, the people who work in politics and the media need to take this more seriously. Presidential politics isn't American Idol, it's a contest for the leadership of the United States of America and putting together an "electable" package cannot be the only focus. And it goes without saying that this kewl kidz and mean girls nonsense from the press has to stop. The past six years have been a tragedy and we desperately need some thoughtful, intelligent, competent leadership to set this right.

Amen. And it was millions of like-minded citizens questioning their own sanity that led to the fellowship of the netroots and the rise of a new democracy.

Mike and I are headed off to St. Louis in January for the FreePress conference on media reform. We need to fix this piece of our republic, too.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A click a day makes the 'thugs go away

Help get the truth out. Large numbers of people get their information about candidates by checking them out on the internet in the weeks before the election. Here's a collection of Republican candidates in competitive races linked to damning articles written by independent, nonpartisan sources. Just click on a name, any name, to help build the links that will lead search engines to these articles. Some people call it "google bombing" - I call it a perfectly legitimate oppo dump.

Pass the word.
--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
--AZ-01: Rick Renzi
--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
--CA-04: John Doolittle
--CA-11: Richard Pombo
--CA-50: Brian Bilbray
--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
--CO-05: Doug Lamborn
--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell
--CT-04: Christopher Shays
--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
--FL-16: Joe Negron
--FL-22: Clay Shaw
--ID-01: Bill Sali
--IL-06: Peter Roskam
--IL-10: Mark Kirk
--IL-14: Dennis Hastert
--IN-02: Chris Chocola
--IN-08: John Hostettler
--IA-01: Mike Whalen
--KS-02: Jim Ryun
--KY-03: Anne Northup
--KY-04: Geoff Davis
--MD-Sen: Michael Steele
--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
--MN-06: Michele Bachmann
--MO-Sen: Jim Talent
--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
--NV-03: Jon Porter
--NH-02: Charlie Bass
--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
--NM-01: Heather Wilson
--NY-03: Peter King
--NY-20: John Sweeney
--NY-26: Tom Reynolds
--NY-29: Randy Kuhl
--NC-08: Robin Hayes
--NC-11: Charles Taylor
--OH-01: Steve Chabot
--OH-02: Jean Schmidt
--OH-15: Deborah Pryce
--OH-18: Joy Padgett
--PA-04: Melissa Hart
--PA-07: Curt Weldon
--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
--PA-10: Don Sherwood
--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
--TN-Sen: Bob Corker
--VA-Sen: George Allen
--VA-10: Frank Wolf
--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Sunday, July 23, 2006

50 easy questions to ask any Republican

These are making the rounds and I think they're very reasonable.
  1. What are the Top Seven best things that the Bush Administration has done?
  2. Is the Iraq War is going well?
  3. After three years thus far, when do you think Iraq might be able to "stand up" so that America can "stand down"?
  4. For his part in the event, how would you rate the job the President did protecting New Orleans from devastation?
  5. How do you think the rebuilding of New Orleans is going?
  6. When Dick Cheney and the oil company and energy executives met in private to plan America's energy policy, how much of their goal was to benefit consumers?
  7. Do you believe in the President's call for an Era of Personal Responsibility?
  8. Since Republicans control the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, how personally responsible are they for conditions in America today?
  9. Why do you think they haven't been able to find anyone who can verify that George Bush ever showed up for National Guard duty in Alabama?
  10. Would you want Donald Rumsfeld to plan your daughter's wedding?
  11. Are you aware that no government in the history of civilization, other than the Bush Administration, has lowered taxes during a war?
  12. Are you married?
  13. Do you personally feel threatened by gay marriage?
  14. Since getting elected, do you think the President has been more a uniter or a divider?
  15. How do you explain the President's approval rating going from a high of 90% to the current mid-30%?
  16. Do you like the government collecting personal data on you without a warrant?
  17. How much money do you have in your bank account, stocks and investments?
  18. What's your partner's favorite sex position?
  19. If you have nothing to hide, why aren't you answering?
  20. Should we build a wall along the Mexican border?
  21. Why isn't anyone building a wall along the Canadian border?
  22. Does that terrorist gang arrested in Canada count as a threat?
  23. If you shot someone in the face while drinking, how fast would the police show up to arrest you?
  24. If Donald Rumsfeld had planned your daughter's wedding three years ago, would the guests still be there?
  25. Even if no laws are broken, do you think it's okay to reveal the name of a covert agent?
  26. During your lifetime, approximately how often have you changed your mind?
  27. Why shouldn't people dismiss you as a flip-flopper?
  28. Where do you think the Weapons of Mass Destruction might be?
  29. Where do you think Osama bin Laden might be?
  30. Is it fiscally responsible to cut taxes, increase spending and create a $9 trillion federal debt?
  31. Are you glad liberals passed such programs as Social Security, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, women's suffrage, federal deposit insurance, unemployment compensation, rural electrification, child labor laws, minimum wages and the 40-hour work week?
  32. What are the Top Ten best things that conservatives have given to America?
  33. If you were on life support, would you want a doctor you'd never met making a diagnosis about you via remote television?
  34. Do you think man-made greenhouse gases have anything at all to do with depleting the ozone layer?
  35. If Donald Rumsfeld had planned your daughter's wedding three years ago, and guests were still there, how many factions would they now be split into?
  36. How good is it that the terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was killed?
  37. Are you aware that in 2002 the Pentagon knew where al-Zarqawi was and presented three separate plans to kill him, but the Administration refused to act each time?
  38. Is George W. Bush the kind of guy you'd want to sit down and have a beer with?
  39. When he started talking about being a Born Again Christian, would you want to stay or leave?
  40. Is Ray Romano the kind of guy you'd want to sit down and have a beer with?
  41. Would you want him to be President?
  42. Does the Administration have an environmental policy that benefits the environment?
  43. Since George Bush campaigned for President strongly against nation building, in what ways are our actions in Iraq not nation building?
  44. What's the maximum amount of time you'd want to spend alone with Dick Cheney?
  45. After dismissing Saddam Hussein's old Iraqi army, was it a good idea to let them keep their rifles?
  46. Would a policy that allows torture be something that makes you proud as an American?
  47. Has the Mission been Accomplished?
  48. Do you feel comforted that Dick Cheney is a heartbeat away from being President?
  49. If Donald Rumsfeld had planned your daughter's wedding, and guests started fighting and were killed, would you expect to be allowed to view the caskets when they were returned home?
  50. How glad do you think George Bush is that he's no longer active in the National Guard?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

O God of earth and altar, bow down and hear our cry

O God of earth and altar, bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter, our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us, the swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us, but take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches, from lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches that comfort cruel men,
From sale and profanation of honor, and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation, deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether the prince and priest and thrall,
Bind all our lives together, smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation, a single sword to thee.

--G.K. Chesterton, 1906

Sunday, June 11, 2006

BREAKING: Dam geek realizes lifelong ambition; visits Hoover Dam

We interrupt this conference to bring you my five-hour excursion to the Hoover Dam, complete with tour of turbines, penstocks, intake towers, and diversion tunnels! Yes, I am a dam geek. For reasons too complex to go into here, I have dragged husbands all over this great country to see impounded water. Once when we drove from Maine to New Orleans (already kind of a long trip), I veered us 200 miles off course just to see the Army Corps of Engineers' Old River Control Structure at the junction of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. I especially love it when droughts expose old road beds, turn islands into mountains, and the like. Well, today I was in luck, since Lake Mead is down 70 feet from high water (tant pis for LA, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona). Sadly for you, my camera is checked through security so I can't show you all my turbine pictures.

At the gift store, I bought a history of the dam's construction as reported at the time by Air Compression Magazine. I'm devouring every word. Stay tuned for details!!

Mainstream press reports truth on bloggers for once


Mr. Reid added: "One of the reasons I so admire them is they have the ability to spread the truth like no entities I've dealt with in recent years. We could never have won the battle to stop privatization of Social Security without them."

[...] As became clear from the rather large and diverse crowd here, the blogosphere has become for the left what talk radio has been for the right: a way of organizing and communicating to supporters. Blogging is nowhere near the force among Republicans as it is among Democrats, and talk radio is a much more effective tool for Republicans. (well, it is Wonkette):

The crowd is older and more professional than coverage of the blogosphere might lead one to expect. In the session on recruiting progressive candidates for local office, there's an ER doctor, an AIDS activist, a high-school teacher and a representative from the Organic Consumers Association. There are some that conform to type: thirtyish and pale, sloppily dressed and bleary-eyed. Those are the journalists. There are a lot of them. One organizer put the ratio of conference-goers to reporters at eight to one, which seemed high until I visited one workshop that managed to score drive-bys from the Chicago Tribune, the National Review, the Weekly Standard, Salon, The New Republic and the American Prospect. At one point the room held more representatives from the New York Times (three) than workshop leaders (two).

Emphasis mine. There was something a bit surreal in all these journalists covering our discussions of their own failures. Matt Bai was eloquent and plaintive on the subject during a panel on political journalism, telling us that "sweeping statements about failures of political journalism are inaccurate and unfair and beneath the level of acuity you bring to other issues." He complained that we understate the complexity and humility they bring to their jobs, and said "I'm tired of being judged because of Judy Miller."

We absorbed these comments and agreed that for every failure in the press, someone somewhere got the story right and deserved acclaim. But then a blogger got up and restated the issue: our criticism is not about comparing Matt Bai to Judy Miller. It's about complete lack of accountability when they do fail, and the huge consequences flowing from those failures.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Check in

Okay, put me to shame, Leolabeth (go read the comments below for her liveblogging). I'm having trouble getting posts up because the information is flying so fast - unlike, say, the Maine Democratic Convention - that I can't stop to post. And activities are going on every minute well into the night. Moreover, I plead slooowww network...

So this is just a checkin to let you know this conference is tremendous and we're all getting energized, informed, and activated. It's a blast meeting people who have just been screen names up till now - and a bit unnerving discovering how sharp and articulate some of these folk are. I'll have some of the conference content up later, probably on the way home. And I can't tell you how grateful I am to be here.

P.S. Phil, I got your autographs.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Kos fever

Joining the migration to Las Vegas. Will keep you posted!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mehnert update & a blizzard of Snowe statistics

Good Mehnert profile in yesterday's Bangor Daily News. Also a poll, should you care to participate. It shows Hay Bright ahead by six points (53/47), which makes sense given her organizing efforts and lead time. However, I think Mehnert made strong gains among most-likely voters this weekend at the convention.

Get a load of Senator Snowe's voting patterns in detail. Not only is she a Bush enabler, but she votes in strong support of Senate leadership as well. In fact, her Frist-enabling has increased dramatically in the past two years. UPDATE/CORRECTION: That's the past two years measured. The data stop at 2004.

Snowe Voted in Favor of Bush Administration Policies over 82% of the Time…

…But Voted in Favor of Clinton Administrations Policies Only 55% of the Time.

Since Entering the Senate in 1995, Snowe has voted with GOP Leadership 67% of the Time. Snowe’s Party Unity Rating has Dramatically Increased in the Last Two Years.

Party Unity
And yes, I know she voted against cloture today on the Hate Amendment. Forgive me for not considering that cause for celebration. I want Maine's elected representatives to serve in a Congress where that kind of legislation doesn't even come up for discussion. And that means, you don't prop up tyrants, bullies, and incompetents.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Speed reading

We're busy here following up on the convention, writing Mehnert LTEs, digging up dirt on Snowe, and getting ready for Yearly Kos. Meanwhile, check out these don't-miss posts from the last few days:

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Convention highlights

Best speakers:

Russ Feingold. I knew I'd love him but I didn't know how much. Biggest applause lines: " It's not just getting the power; it's standing on principle when we have the power." "We have ideas, bold ones. We just have to express them boldly." "Don't be weak and full of fear." "I thought the NSA wiretapping issue was right in the strike zone of what the founding fathers meant by 'high crimes and misdemeanors...." He said that wherever he went, whoever he talked to, whatever the setting, people said the same thing: "When are you guys going to stand up?" After he left the stage, a discussion in my row ensued as to whether his balls are brass or titanium.

Attorney General Stephen Rowe. Even though I'm mad at him for not running against Snowe, I've always liked and respected Rowe for his solid record of achievements and progressive values. But I've never heard him speak the way he did yesterday. He was on fire. He was unbelievably eloquent on loving and supporting the troops, loving this nation, and the myriad ways the Iraq war is wrong. He sounded like he's an anti-Beltway type, too, riffing on polls, pundits, and consultants. He talked about people's hunger for leadership. And he spoke at length on Democratic values, shouting, "Never apologize for our values! Never apologize for being a Democrat!"

Eric Mehnert. Get this man a campaign manager - he's going to need one after next week's primary. He's not a master orator, but he spoke from the heart, without notes, with absolute command and intensity. His themes are fighting injustice and restoring the social contract. He spoke frequently of moral courage. A civil rights attorney, he would absolutely shred Snowe on warrantless wiretapping, habeas corpus, torture, the 750 signing statements....

Best convention achievement:

The impeachment resolution, of course.

Best complete and utter Maine mensch:

Neil Rolde. Historian, legislator, philanthropist, publisher, founder of Seeds of Peace, did I mention also a nice guy with a genuinely unaffected manner? They don't make citizens any better than this. He introduced Feingold.

Best candidate entrance:

Rep. Mike Michaud, on a forklift.

Best excruciating weirdness:

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Miller, who spoke at length (and slowly) about the dire state of the planet, then showed a video of himself making the same points (only slower), then showed another video set "in the future," with outer-space sound effects, while a comedy duo on stage portrayed future Mainers realizing that all of Chris Miller's dire predictions had come true. The audience sat in stunned fascination.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Impeachment resolution passes!

We took it out of the platform (where it would still be sitting in 2008), did some parliamentary maneuvering, and passed it as a floor resolution. Details later. I have a very sick dog to attend to.

Feingold was stupendous. Comments and photos (we hope) later, too.

Yay, Maine.

Candidates for U.S. Senate

We're still processing the platform but took a break to hear from Jean Hay Bright and Eric Mehnert, vying for the nomination to run against Senator Snowejob, who votes with Bush 82% of the time. Hay Bright has a better organization at the moment (and a three-year head start), but Mehnert won the room. I'll give a full report on him this evening but here's the short version: this man could beat Snowe. Some people are comparing him to RFK; I'm thinking along the lines of Ned Lamont. We have to work to get him the nomination next week.

Great lines heard this morning:
  • I'm a Democrat because I give a damn. - Dean video
  • The middle of the road is where the chickens get run over. - extremely angry teacher from Aroostook County
  • Grassroots movements are not born in hard times. They are movements born of hope. - Eric Mehnert

Saturday morning platform debate

Here is where the rubber meets the road and we see Democratic process and dysfunction in all its glory. This being my first political convention, I'm not in a position to compare today's proceedings with other years, other leaders... I can just give today's impression, and it seems like a mess.

After the AM opening events, slogged through with a distinct lack of adrenaline and coffee, we got down to real business at 10:00. The platform started out with 68 planks, all but 7 of which were adopted or rejected by the platform committee by the requisite 2/3 majority. These constitute the "consent agenda," which is supposed to be voted on as one package by us delegates. Speaker Richardson started to push it through and had actually pounded the gavel passing the agenda when the objections started. Item 2. Item 2. 8 and 9. 10, 17, 22, 25, 36, 42, 53 & 56. Then someone stood up and objected to the ENTIRE platform and suggested reinstating the 2004 platform. Then it was pointed out that half the delegates had not received the list of platform amendments. We adjourned for 20 minutes while the pages ran around to find copies.

Now we're back debating the rejection of the entire platform. [I have to say Richardson seems to have less of a grip on Roberts rules of order than I expected. It is also interesting to watch him try to keep his temper under wraps.] People are shouting "point of order" all over the place, and some of the the microphones are out. Now we're counting delegates. There are 950 of us present and voting.

Back to the motion to scuttle. It fails, so we now go amendment by amendment. I'm going to post this and go offline a bit before I bore you all to death.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday evening remarks

  • Call to order. Marianne Stevens, Vice Chair, state party.
  • Invocation. Rep. Stan Moody of Manchester, president of the Christian Policy Institute.
  • National anthem, pledge of allegiance. The anthem was sung by "Referendum," a political a cappella group. Very good - excuse me, wicked good.
  • Opening remarks. Ben Dudley, Chair, state party. Wades through the list of thank yous. Will see Allen, Michaud to dem majority, reelect Democratic governor for the first time in 22 years… 159 days till election. Stress concerns of the people – the people, the people. Bushco out of step with American values - opportunity, investment, community, shared sacrifice, shared reward. Yet one month ago the GOP proudly displayed Bush’s picture before their convention in this very hall. They have a government that’s about THEM. We want one that’s about ALL OF US. Democratic values are Maine values. In 4 years we’ve “turned the state around” (hmmmm) in jobs, health care. Clinton said “people of modest means if they are of common mind can change the world.” Exhorts people to “invest in Blue” and end boom/bust cycle, 50-state strategy. [ends with clip of “Let’s Get It Started,” obviously not knowing what the real words are.]
  • Welcome. Rita Moran, Chair, Kennebec County dems. The most important people are not up here but are you down there blah blah. Get dems elected to town councils, school boards, county treasurers, sheriffs. Believe it. [actually she’s doing this pretty well.] Give the governor enough people in the legislature so he can get stuff done without obstruction.
  • Welcome. Arthur & Donna Lerman, City of Augusta. Corny. She’s a little uncomfortable… Riff on GOP failures.
  • Report from Maine legislature. Sen. Beth Edmonds, president, Maine Senate. Be proud of your legislature and its work. Democratic representatives include loggers, dairy farmers, mill workers, teachers, retirees. Edmonds is from Freeport where she was a children’s librarian. Was inspired in her leadership career by a female minister when she was growing up [see, wingnuts – WOMAN PREACHERS REALLY DO LEAD TO PERDITION]. Touts Baldacci’s accomplishments in education, including teacher pay, financial aid. Theme of THEY FEAR, WE TRUST… Bushco plays on fears of Americans to hide their real agenda, which is lining the pockets of their corporate friends. Maine has a comprehensive energy policy and acted to prevent gas price gouging. Working to safeguard personal information. Oppose discrimination in any form – historic civil rights legislation. Intervened to save mill jobs. Invested in R&D – helped attract Team ? and IDEXX expansion. Teen pregnancy, teen smoking fallen dramatically. Fighting TABOR, raised minimum wage. They fear the future. We think Maine workers are the gold standard. We imagine a better future.
  • Call of convention. Patsy Crockett, Chair, Convention Subcommittee. Roster of thank yous. Is moving briskly through it. This was the first convention to use internet in registration – saved lots of money though it was a little bumpy at times. Learned a lot. Democrats make Maine a better place to live and work because they believe in investing in Maine people.
  • Report from Credentials Committee. Betty Johnson, Chair. Snore. Oh god……….. I could never do the work those good people did.
  • Report of Permanent Organization Committee. Sally Crowley, Chair. She’s treasurer from Hancock County. Also snore. [a respectful snore, though.]


Remarks. Hon. John Richardson, Speaker of the House. Turns out he’s a good speaker in a large venue. Quite rousing. Another dig at the GOP convention last month… their theme song was “We’re not going to take it any more.” Ha.

Remarks. Congressman Tom Allen. Introduced by Virginia Manuel, Chair Aroostook County dems. Enters with great fanfare, cheering, and waving of placards to the theme of Springsteen's Rising, the anthem written for the police, firefighters, and others who responded on 9/11. He's introduced by a video that sounds like it's narrated by the Catsup Advisory Board, but it gets a strong reponse.

In Maine we understand tides, he says - they go in, they go out. And the worst tide is a red tide.

Touts Baldacci's accomplishments - closed budget deficit without raising taxes. encouraged small business growth, the ground-breaking Dirigo health program, improvements in education. Please send him back to the Blaine House. Gets in digs at Snowe about the Alito nomination. Runs through crimes of the Bush adminstration in his usual polite and eloquent manner. [I'm never excited by Allen from a distance but am always awed by his ability when I see him in person.] It's tempting to try to win on one simple slogan: HAD ENOUGH?

But Democrats have to address four major challenges: foreign competition, health care, energy, and climate change. Then moves on to talk about Iraq. Allen voted against the war resolution and worked to stop the rush to war. Has consistently urged adminstration to change course and says it's time to start orderly withdrawal of troops.

Remarks. Congressman Mike Michaud. Introduced by Eddie Gorham, Maine AFL-CIO. Glad to see labor here and that they're still alive. Michaud drives in (in a forklift!) to "Power to the People" and loud chants of "We want Mike!" Says the man seated next to me, "He's just the nicest, nicest guy," and a man in the row ahead concurs.

He's not my rep and I never see him so it's a pleasure to watch him in action. He has a very solid and genuine presence. He refers to the AFL-CIO leader as "Brother Eddie Gorham" and speaks respectfully of labor, teachers, veterans. When he says he supports the troops 100%, you believe him. He is outraged at the state of veteran's health care and benefits. He says it's time to bring the troops home. He has words on energy, education (repeal NCLB), welfare, jobs, outsourcing, minimum wage, the environment, civil rights, health care, child care. This is a solid, old-time, red-meat Democrat. [And he's anti-abortion. Next time NOW pulls another bone-headed stunt like they did in Rhode Island, they need to come look at Michaud's record and compare him to Chafee.]

Let's return this country to its rightful owners: the American men and women who through their blood, sweat and tears built the greatest country on earth. And P.S. Republicans? You're fired.

Then his staff hands out the words to a union song: "Solidarity Forever." And we stand it sing it together. Pretty cool.

Remarks. Governor John Baldacci. My connected friends - pretty much environmentalists first, second, and third - all hate Baldacci, but I kind of like the guy. Nevertheless, everything he says I somehow instantly forget. Here comes his litany of accomplishments (I think there are five). As my mind wanders, I wonder if Bill Clinton's fundraiser this Monday for the governor will be fully attended. We've gotten two real calls, two invitations, and two robocalls yesterday, which doesn't sound good...

Adjourn. America the Beautiful sung by Matthew Small, a student at Orono. Beautiful voice, beautiful song.

See you tomorrow.

Live-blogging the Maine Democratic Convention

The real convention starts tomorrow, but I'm at the Augusta Civic Center in a training session on grassroots organizing. We're learning how to build a network of volunteers by hosting house meetings, each one of which trains hosts to lead more house meetings, in viral fashion. The leaders know what they are talking about and appear to have their shit together. They're cramming a lot of content into a short period. They have detailed schedules and work plans taking us from now till the election.

I am moderately surprised and really pleased.

More notes to come.

UPDATE: The platform committee is debating impeachment. See the Kennebec Journal and cast your vote on whether the Maine Democratic platform should include a call for impeachment. (At this writing, it's 53% to 47% in favor.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hell freezes over: Bush nominee believes in global warming

Good God - the nominee for Treasury Secretary (replacing John "Whatever You Say Sir" Snow) is chairman of The Nature Conservancy and supports the Kyoto Protocol. I understand they've been desperate to fill this post for some time, it being difficult to find a candidate who is conversant with economics and willing to spout Bushenomics at the same time. But this Paulson nomination suggests Rove is really off his game.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Tit for tattler

Hardly a day goes by that I don't wake up and think, "thank God for Media Matters." Today was no exception.

UPDATE: Don't miss Jamison Foser's column on the most pressing issue of our time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Worried about big box developers? Call the Governor ASAP.

Memo from a friend:
LD 1481 passed on Monday night in both the House and Senate. The amendment passed by the House a couple of weeks ago had already been stripped, and the Bill passed in a very restrictive form. With this Bill as law citizens would have only 75 days to challenge a development proposal through citizen referendum.

LD 1481 now goes to the Governor. He needs calls from citizens. 287-3531

The Attorney General recently indicated in a memo that the Bill likely constitutes an unfunded mandate because it could require towns to spend money to speed up their referendum process to meet the restrictive time frame imposed by 1481. However the mandate was not attached to the Bill.

The Governor has grounds to veto it, but he needs to hear from you.
Even if you have already called the governor, please call again TODAY. 287-3531. Mention:
  1. The burden on towns when the State tells towns how to manage their referendum process, traditionally decided through LOCAL CONTROL.
  2. Citizens will be stripped of their rights to determine the future of their own towns, while Big Box developers will be given a green light to make secret development deals that cannot be stopped by citizen petition after an unrealistic 75 days. And a public hearing is not even required by the bill!
This issue is critical to the future of Maine. Please call TODAY!!

287-3531 !!!
My friend likes exclamation points. But I agree . We need to call on this one.

He is the very model of a bible-bound creationist!

To the tune of "The Major-General's Song" in Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance:

I am the very model of a bible-bound creationist
A blinkered, blind, and narrow-minded dumb-ass revelationist
I find it hard distinguishing religious from political
And so I make decisions that are highly hypocritical
I try and change the law to save the life of someone comatose
While ordering a war and killing anyone who comes too close
The latest body count was twenty-thousand-plus civili-ans
But I've got policies that could cause carnage by the milli-ons!

But he's got policies that could cause carnage by the milli-ons
But he's got policies that could cause carnage by the mili-ons
But he's got policies that could cause carnage by the milli-ons!

I know the world was made for us, and has been since it first begun
It says so there in Genesis, and God knows I'm a Christ-ee-yun
In short, in matters biblical, a congre-gaggin-nationist
I am the very model of a bible-bound creationist

In short, in matters biblical, a congre-gaggin-nationist
He is the very model of a bible-bound creationist

My country's use of gasoline is profligate and decadent
It's harming our economy and the whole world's environment
Global warming morons warn of crises so hysteric and
It makes me thank the Lord that I was born to be American
Like anyone in power who wants to show their adherence
I pick and choose the bits I use from both Old and New Testaments
The Satanic secular types show how much they fear me
When I announce that evolution's no more than a theory!

When he announces evolution's no more than a theory
When he announces evolution's no more than a theory
When he announces evolution's no more than a theory

Then I can draft a scary bill that's more than taking liberties
But arguing impugns your patriotic sensitivities
In short, in matters patriotic, criminal or terrorist
I am the very model of a bible-bound creationist

In short, in matters patriotic, criminal or terrorist
I am the very model of a bible-bound creationist

In fact, when I know what is meant by true religious parity
When I don't think the West is under threat from secularity
When my lack of brain-power's not undermined by literacy
And when my foreign policy's less gunboat, more diplomacy
When I have learnt the difference 'tween sandwiches and sand wedges
When I can use with confidence the whole damn English lang-u-wedge
In short, when I can state a statement oh, so very statedly
You'll say no president's ever misunderestimatedly

You'll say no president's ever misunderestimatedly
You'll say no president's ever misunderestimatedly
You'll say no president's ever misunderestimatedly

I know there ain't much knowledge that's contained within my cranium
I went to see the Wizard, but he can't give me a brainium
But still, in things political or educa-ca-cationist
I am the very model of a Bible-bound creationist!

But still, in things political or educa-ca-cationist
He is the very model of a Bible-bound creationist!

Author unknown, but I would like to shake his hand.