Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Video

"Moving In Stereo/All Mixed Up" by The Cars (featuring the late Ben Orr...I was never really big on these guys, but when they nailed a song, they really did it for me - quality of this video is pretty rough, but it captures the band at its peak, recorded live in 1978).

This Land's Not His Land

(At least not any more – my apologies to Woody Guthrie…)

This is pretty much a “piggyback” post off The Daily Kos, but it really needs to be mentioned again in light of this Inquirer editorial.

A lucrative land deal benefiting U.S. Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) deserves full scrutiny by the Senate ethics committee.
OK, let me point out that, according to the Kos post, Reid DID disclose this deal to the ethics committee.

In 1998, Reid purchased undeveloped residential property on the outskirts of Las Vegas for $400,000. He bought one lot outright, and a second lot with a partner, Jay Brown. In 2001, Reid sold the land for the same price to a corporation created by Brown.
Actually, he did own the land, as Kos states. He just transferred the property to a limited liability corporation (LLC), and the land was the only asset.

Reid retained an ownership stake in the corporation...
Wait a minute - the Inquirer's argument seems to be that Reid claimed he didn't own the land, when admission that Reid retained his stake in the corporation is means that he still owned it!

...and continued to pay taxes on the property. There was no written agreement; Brown told the Associated Press that the two had been friends for 35 years and didn't need one.

So the Senate Democratic leader engaged in a seven-figure handshake and didn't feel the need to disclose all the details. Experts on Senate ethics rules say Reid should have disclosed the sale in 2001 on his annual ethics report, and informed Congress of his part-ownership in Brown's corporation. Reid didn't.
That was because he didn't actually sell the land - he just formed the LLC for it!

After the land was rezoned for a shopping center, the corporation sold it in 2004. Reid received $1.1 million in the sale, turning a neat profit of nearly $700,000 in six years.

While now insisting he did nothing wrong, Reid is also offering to make a "technical change" to his earlier ethics reports if the ethics committee so desires. Simply giving the Democratic leader a mulligan is hardly the way to handle this case. When the Senate debated ethics reforms earlier this year, Reid was out in front to demand the toughest of standards from lawmakers.

"Americans have been shocked and even disgusted by revelations of corruption in our current system by Republican lobbyists, senior Bush Administration officials, members of Congress, and former congressional staff," Reid said in March. "The scandals have shown that some outsiders and insiders believed they could act with impunity."

That's how this case looks, too. Unless Reid comes up with a better explanation for this lack of disclosure, Democrats should not keep him as their leader in the new Congress in 2007.
You’ve got to be kidding me. You yourselves even pointed out that Reid paid taxes on the property!

As Kos also notes, there’s no charge that Reid assigned an earmark to increase the value of his property. If I were to start citing examples of congressional Republicans who engaged in this odious practice, it would take me into tomorrow morning to make my case against everyone.

Besides, we’re talking about a profit of $700 grand for a politician who works in a city where Jack Abramoff doled out millions ad nauseum to Republicans (and as a reminder, we have today’s story of the guilty plea of Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio). Does the Inquirer honestly see an equivalency between the actions of Ney and Reid (as well as the fact that our own Mikey Fitzpatrick “hearted” Tom DeLay and Abramoff to feather his own nest also?).

The Environmental Non-Protection Agency

I couldn’t believe my eyes as I was reading this; I’ll try to put all of this together as best as I can.

In April of 2005, EPA administrator Stephen Johnson tried to institute something called the Children’s Environmental Exposure Research Study (CHEERS – this may be the sickest acronym for something of this type that I’ve ever seen) which allowed chemical companies to pay families for pesticide testing on kids, all while Johnson’s EPA just stood back and watched.

Fortunately, Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Bill Nelson of Florida (I don’t have to identify their political affiliation, do I?) put a stop to it, at least temporarily, with Nelson promising to block Johnson’s confirmation unless he ended the study.

Well, in September of ’05, the EPA issued new regulations, as noted here (this paragraph is an excerpt)…

The Environmental Protection Agency's new rules on human testing, which the agency said last week would categorically protect children and pregnant women from pesticide testing, include numerous exemptions, such as one that specifically allows testing of children who have been "abused and neglected."

…within the 30 pages of rules are clear-cut exceptions that permit:

-- Testing of "abused or neglected" children without permission from parents or guardians.
-- "Ethically deficient" human research if it is considered crucial to "protect public health."
-- More than minimal health risk to a subject if there is a "direct benefit" to the child being tested, and the parents or guardians agree.
-- EPA acceptance of overseas industry studies, which often are performed in countries that have minimal or no ethical standards for testing, as long as the tests are not done directly for the EPA.
I would say that this is positively Dickensian if it weren’t for the fact that Oliver Twist never had to worry about getting sprayed with a known carcinogen.

Well, after still more public outcry, the EPA tried again to get the rules right (as noted today), but as mentioned here (somehow appropriate that this was issued on Friday the 13th):

…the agency did little to respond to the tens of thousands of citizens opposed to the loopholes in the original proposed rule. The EPA responds to the comments by moving the problematic sections of the proposed document (see below) to other parts of the document. One aspect of the final rule that is positive is that the EPA further articulates that the rule bans all intentional dosing.

Still, the rule has many loopholes (see below) regarding "observational dosing." Observational dosing can have its benefits when conducted via legitimate methods. But, historically, that has not been the practice of chemical companies seeking to weaken regulations on their products by testing on humans.

As an example, the CHEERS study, which was finally dropped by the EPA in early 2005, would have been an "observational study" on low income minorities in Florida. Unfortunately, the study's constructs were such that it could motivate study participants to expose themselves and their children to higher levels of pesticides and chemicals because of the study payout. The same holds true for the current rule, wherein orphanages and institutions housing mentally handicapped children could receive payout to increase everyday chemical use, prior to applying for a payout study. Of course, the EPA does not condone such behavior, but the new rule also does not disallow it, nor does it set up any sort of detailed criteria that would allow the agency or a review board to assess studies on this level.

At this point, the rule is published and official. We, at the OCA, are disappointed in the EPA for not focusing more on creating stringent standards for observational studies.
Maybe it’s just me, but I cannot imagine that I’d ever be swayed by the prospect of cash, a nice vacation or a big-screen TV if the tradeoff was that my family and I would be exposed to potentially deadly poisons.

So this brings us back to today’s Yahoo News story that I linked to at the beginning.

I’ll tell you what – let’s lock up Johnson and everyone else at the EPA who approved this garbage and threaten to test THEM if they don’t change these regulations to categorically prohibit chemical testing on humans (kids in particular) once and for all.

And I salute Boxer, Solis and Nelson for doing the right thing.

Sorry We Bored You, Pancake Joe

I was curious to find out about the debate between Lois Herr and Joe Pitts at the Farm & Home Center in Manheim Township on Wednesday.

Well, the Lois Herr For Congress site communicates the following…

Pitts appeared disinterested during much of the debate. In his opening remarks he said, "It is not the job of Government to help people. It is the purpose of Government to create an atmosphere for people to meet their own needs."
I don’t know what that means, and somehow I don’t think Pitts does either.

I’ll tell you what, Joe; try giving this a read. It’s the text of a speech by columnist and Marine veteran Mark Shields on the importance of government in this country. I don’t know if it will “ring any bells” with you, but try anyway, OK?

Here’s more…

When Pitts was asked about the fiasco following Katrina in New Orleans by an audience member, he blamed the slow progress and failures of the Bush Administration on the corruption of Louisiana politicians.
There’s an element of truth there, but basically it’s a lazy cop out by Pitts. It’s kind of hard to “create an atmosphere for people to meet their own needs” when their homes are getting washed away, their cars are in trees and they’re drowning all over the Ninth Ward.

Also, concerning stem cell research…

Pitts had trouble staying on point. He answered a question on embryonic stem cell research by touting the benefits of adult stem cell research. When the moderator pointed out to him that the American Medical Association had questioned the legitimacy of the research he quoted, Mr. Pitts was not able to address the issue competently.
Non-embryonic stem cell research is “pie in the sky” at this point, but of course this all sounds very familiar to residents of the 8th Congressional district, since Pitts and Mikey are reading from the exact same playbook on this one.

And Lois recently received a boost from Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, as noted on her site.

To help Lois in the final days of the campaign and send Joe Pitts packing for good, click here.

"Waking And Dreaming" Of Victory

I received this the other day from the John Hall campaign (he being the driving force behind the '70s rock group Orleans) and it looks pretty interesting, so I'm passing this along (I just contacted Patrick Murphy's campaign about it also).

Hello ,

As you are a key component to promoting netroots politics, our campaign is coming to you with an unusual idea. And unlike other campaigns, we're NOT asking for help raising money.

The John Hall campaign has a web-based "make calls from home for John Hall" technology that we've just re-launched. We call it the
Home Team. The Lamont campaign used it, to great success. It's been very successful so far for us -- we've made over 15,000 calls with it -- and now we're rolling it out to a wider audience. I'm hoping you might post something about it, so that your readers have a chance to "do something" this election other than just give money, give money, give money. Check out the instructions page, and give it a whirl.

We thought you might be interested in blogging it, because:

a) this is NOT the same-old, same-old request -- ie, its NOT about raising money

b) it wins votes for progressive candidates

c) its allows netroots activists in safe districts to get involved in a swing race

d) its a fresh tool that people haven't seen yet

Think its worth posting something about? Think any of your readers would want to try it? Our good friend Howie Klein at Down with Tyranny
blogged it today, (sorry I'm late with this) and he's asking other bloggers to pick it up and run with it. And we're sweetening the pot this week with a nice prize -- the Home Teamer who makes the most calls wins 2 tickets to a Bonnie Raitt concert (concert details here).

Not only is this an effective tool, we also provide training to each individual caller. And our callers have fun with it; there's nothing more satisfying for many activists than winning votes, one voter at a time.

If you want to post something about it and you've got any questions, please give me a call. If you post something, the influence you have with netroots activists will have a direct impact on placing a progressive Democrat in the House and beating a Gingrich Republican.

Thank you,

Tate Hausman
Technology Director
John Hall for Congress
646.247.3331

P.S. Here's a blurb about it that we sent to our volunteers:

Work for John Hall from Home, and Win Bonnie Raitt Tickets

Want to help John Hall take back the House? Now it's super-easy for you to join the volunteer effort - from the convenience of your own home. Introducing the John Hall "Home Team."

Many of you have told us you want to make calls on John's behalf. For some of you, our group phone bank locations are too inconvenient, or you live outside the district. You'd rather make calls from your home, on your schedule.

Now you can. If you join the Home Team, you can be talking to voters in a matter of minutes. All you need is a computer and a phone. Our volunteer coordinators will train you thoroughly and give you access to our simple call system. And since our system calls you, you don't pay for long distance charges.

To sweeten the pot, we're offering two tickets to the sold-out Bonnie Raitt concert / fundraiser for John on Oct. 18. The person who makes the most Home Team calls between Oct. 9 and Oct. 15 wins the pair. How many calls will win? We don't know, but here's a benchmark -- our top caller in the 5 days before the primary election made 437 calls.

For more information, or to sign up for the Home Team, visit
here, or email Home Team Captain Tate Hausman here.
Here's more background on John Hall's campaign from Editor and Publisher Online.

Dick Cheney To The Rescue?

Suddenly I feel a lot better about our chances in a few weeks, though we still have lots to do and can’t afford complacency. I say this because of the latest poll from The Daily Kos.

(The PA-06 and PA-07 numbers look good in particular – no new numbers on the all-important PA-08 yet, or PA-16 for that matter).

So what’s an embattled GOP to do?

If you guessed “Trot Out ‘Deadeye Dick’ Cheney To Slime Democrats,” then you win the about-to-be-release book compilation of “Mark Foley’s Sleaziest ‘IMs’ To Congressional Pages,” autographed by Denny Hastert (and who else but right-wing stenographer Mike Allen would bring us such fawning reporting as this?).

The REALLY funny part about all of this, though, is that the Fundies and so-called “values voters” may FINALLY be getting wise to the fact that they’ve been utterly played by Bushco (gee, we’re a few months short of halfway into Bushco’s second term – do you think it took them long enough?).

Since I don’t subscribe to Times Select out of principle because I don’t believe I should have to pay for their content, I can’t link to the full text of David Kirkpatrick’s article that appears at HuffPo today that explains the unrest of “the base.” However, Kirkpatrick wrote this column last May about dissention in the Fundie ranks over Bushco’s antics (I equate Richard Viguerie at approximately the same level as pond scum, but I have to admit that he knows his stuff and has played a big role in building “the base”).

So, despite the fluffing of Mike Allen, I really don’t think anyone but the most crazed of the “full mooners” is going to care about anything Cheney says, since all Mr. “Undisclosed Location” is going to do is trot out the same old tired act, which at this point is hardly newsworthy.

However, were he to shoot somebody else in the face…

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thursday PM Video

"Animal I Have Become" by Three Days Grace (damn, do these guys rock, or what?)...

Smoking Out The Enemy

I know the Canadian troops are in danger in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban, and that certainly isn't funny, but I'm sorry - I read this story a few times, and it sounds like a '60s exploitation movie ("Reefer Madness 2, Eh?").

I wish the soldiers for our neighbors to the north good luck as they engage this new adversary one joint at a time.

Who's "Over The Top" Now?

There was a time when I once respected Christopher Shays, the U.S. House representative from Connecticut. I distinctly recall the town hall meeting he held that was telecast on C-SPAN during the Clinton-Monica Whatsername business in which he appeared to be unsure about how he would vote in the upcoming impeachment proceeding, and he wanted to hear what his constituents thought about it (he ended up voting against impeachment).

I thought that was a class move and showed somebody who understood who he had been elected to serve and was trying to do the best he could.

Silly me.

Now, in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal, it turns out (as reported everywhere in the universe) that he has likened it to the infamous bit of navigation Ted Kennedy conducted on the Chappaquiddick Bridge many moons ago with an automobile containing Mary Jo Kopechne.

Do you know who that immensely stupid remark appeals to?

Knuckle-dragging right-wing hammerheads who can barely construct a polysyllabic sentence, that’s who.

Mark Foley is the living, breathing testimonial to the fact that the morally bankrupt Republican congressional leadership considered holding onto power as a higher priority over that of ensuring the safety of congressional pages entrusted to their care (and now, as it turns out based on this HuffPo link to a New Republic article, Foley didn’t even want to run again, but the Repugs insisted that he do so to utilize the power of incumbency to the fullest possible extent despite his predatory behavior).

None of this has anything whatsoever to do with Ted Kennedy.

All of which is funny in a twisted way when you consider that Shays recently said that Cheney and Rumsfeld were “over the top” in their attacks against anyone who is trying to bring sanity to the Iraq nightmare.

Like all Repug “moderates,” it seems that, when push comes to shove, Shays tows the line on the bread-and-butter issues that fire up “the base” the most (such as Shays’ support for the so-called partial birth abortion ban noted here), as well as Shays’ preposterous claim a year ago that we’ve trained “hundreds of thousands of Iraqi security forces,” to say nothing of his effort, along with Dem Marty Meehan of Massachusetts, to limit Internet free speech.

Fortunately for the voters of Connecticut, you have a chance to send Shays packing along with Holy Joe on Election Day. We know about Ned Lamont and his amazing accomplishments, with the biggest prize of all still up for grabs, but this takes you to a U.S. News and World Report story about Diane Farrell, the Democrat running against Shays for the U.S. House.

Since Shays seems to know so much about tragic accidents involving deep water, I think it’s only fair that the voters of Connecticut elect Diane Farrell in a few weeks to submerge Shays’ career in public life also.

Update 10/13: I read that the campaign staffers for George Felix Macaca Allen have told their candidate to shut up. Based on this, I think the Shays staffers should probably do the same thing.

Update 10/26: It just gets better and better for Shays...might be time for Diane Farrell to start drafting her acceptance speech.

Clinton Muzzles Mikey The Mutt

Ah, to be a Democrat in Bucks County, Pa. yesterday (links here, here, and here)...

In the reporting by the Bucks County Courier Times of Bill Clinton’s visit to Bristol, Pa. yesterday to campaign for Patrick Murphy, I took note of this passage in particular:

“When you look at this young man and you realize the life he's lived and the service he once surrendered and the fact that his opponent actually had the gall to try to pull a swiftboat on him,” Clinton said as the crowd erupted in boos.

Clinton was referring to comments made at a
Fitzpatrick press conference on Friday when two Iraq war veterans said Murphy was not on the war's front lines and has been mischaracterizing his service in Iraq. Fitzpatrick later said he disagreed with that criticism, but in his famous eloquence, Clinton described the attack on Murphy's war record as a “mangy dog.”

“The problem with mangy dogs is you can run 'em out of the kennel one time and they might scare people off, but after a while you just see it for what it is: just a mangy old dog,” Clinton said. “That's what this is.”

In a phone interview Wednesday, Fitzpatrick called Clinton's statement “ugly and unwarranted.”

“Bill Clinton has never been to Bucks County and he doesn't know me,” Fitzpatrick said. “He doesn't know of the service I've given to this community.”
I’m surprised. I mean, didn’t Mikey say that he disagreed with what Kelly and Barbato were saying about Patrick Murphy? That’s what Clinton was criticizing, along with Fitzpatrick’s silence as the two liars were leveling their charges against Patrick.

Why does Mikey have his shorts all in a knot, then? Is it just his typical petulance when he doesn’t get his way? Or do Bubba’s criticisms hit just a little too close to home for our U.S. representative?

This isn’t about “your service to the community,” Mikey. It’s about taking the hit for a cowardly smear endorsed by your campaign.

Oh, and I got a kick out of that line from Mikey that the Dems “parachuted” Patrick Murphy into Bucks County; when all else fails, keep trotting that other flea-bitten varmint out of the kennel – namely, the “residency issue" – right, Mikey?

Also, as far as veterans issues are concerned, I've yet to hear Mikey provide an explanation for the following:

Rep. Fitzpatrick opposed expanding access to the military's TRICARE health insurance program to thousands of Reservist and National Guard members, even though 20 percent of all Reservists do not have health insurance, and 40 percent of Reservists aged 19 to 35 lack health coverage (from dccc.org).
Besides, Mikey, if you’re so jealous of Clinton’s appeal, then why don’t you just ask the head of your party to come back to Bucks County and campaign for you? After all, that last visit worked out so well, didn’t it?

Update: Oh, by the way, remember how Mikey said he'd asked tough questions and was looking for hard answers (or something) concerning the Iraq war from that entity known as The Iraq Study Group run by Jim "The Fixer" Baker?

Well...

Consistency?

I agree with the Holy Father that religion shouldn’t be used as a force for hate.

However, I also believe, as do many other people, that people’s religious beliefs should be used as the basis for their words and actions. And when the words and actions of people in public life are not in accordance with any practiced concept of faith or spirituality, then I think it is incumbent for leaders of organized religions to speak out in protest.

And when it comes to the matter of the U.S. policy on torture and the cover up of Mark Foley’s predatory behavior towards congressional pages, the silence from the Vatican is deafening (John Paul II was highly doctrinaire, of course, but if he were still here, somehow I’m quite sure we would have heard from him on those topics by now).

Thursday AM Video

"Look What You've Done" by Jet (appropriate on a couple of different levels, actually)...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How To Help Admiral Joe

The latest from the Sestak campaign...

Dear Friend,

Our grassroots campaign for change is coming down to the final stage, where each vote is going to make a difference. To ensure victory on Tuesday, November 7th, it’s going to take all of our efforts over the remaining four weeks. So please come out and be part of the winning team!

Please help us in one or more of the following ways:

1. ELECTION DAY: We need you to help out on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7th. We need poll watchers, canvassers, people to hand-out literature outside of polling places, phone bankers, and individuals who can provide rides to the polls. Please let us know when you're available that day by emailing
here.

2. PAID CANVASSERS: The PA Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign is hiring personable, energetic grassroots organizers to work to elect the Democratic ticket. Organizers will work in the field 20-40 hours per week to get out our Party's winning ticket of Joe Sestak and Governor Ed Rendell. If interested, please email
here - no campaign experience necessary.

3. HOUSING: Our grassroots campaign has generated tremendous attention and there are numerous individuals in the area, willing to work weekends leading up to Election Day. Please let us know whether you have an empty room or spare mattress for our supporters. Please let us know by emailing
here.

4. TRANSPORT: On Election Day and on the weekends proceeding Election Day, we will be transporting supporters throughout the District. On Election Day, we especially need drivers to provide rides to the polls for voters. Please e-mail
here if you are available to drive and/or have an SUV or minivan for use.

5. GET OUT THE VOTE: The final 72 hours before Election Day, we will conduct a large scale "Get Out the Vote" weekend. To help us with the final push before Election Day, please e-mail
here.

With your help... we will win on November 7th! So come out and volunteer, for if you do, then on November 8th we’ll have no regrets that we could have done more... in this election -- an election that comes once in a generation -- to change the direction of our country.

Please know that I am extremely grateful for your support.

Warmly,

Joe Sestak
We can truly win this thing, people. Let's all do our best to make that happen!

Wednesday Wrapup

  • Scott at “Stop The Drug War” brings us The Saga Of The “Dubai Doobie,” and reports on his attempts to get Orrin (“Don’t Infringe On The Copyright Of My Christian Songs I Wrote While Working For Congress Or I’ll Blow Up Your Computer”) Hatch to intervene on behalf of another American imprisoned in Dubai for possessing a pitifully small amount of marijuana (I mean, Orrin stepped up last time for a music producer carrying a small bag of that white powdery stuff…you’d think he’d be a regular guy and do that for a fellow American who got caught with some “Mary Jane” in such a laughably small amount that he could barely inhale it). Maybe if we bug Orrin enough on this one, it will help (after all, he came around on stem cell research also, though I know that’s an “apples and oranges” comparison).


  • I just want to say this about this story…let’s just take a deep breath and think here, people; don’t get carried away, OK?

    Update: Our condolences go out to Cory Lidle's family and friends.


  • So Lou Dobbs is telling everyone to change their party affiliations from Republican and Democratic to Independent, and that protest gesture will somehow make entrenched, career politicians on either side start turning lobbyists away who are offering perks and actually start doing the people’s business?

    I have three reactions: the first is that, given the fact that the vast majority of the people of this country won’t even support serious campaign finance reform (that is, elections funded ONLY by public money – and yes, I’d pay for that if it meant leveling the playing field all around and reducing the campaign cycle to 30 days), I don’t know what makes Dobbs think people will actually follow his advice.

    The second reaction is that a protest gesture isn’t enough. If Dobbs is really serious, then he should stop merely pontificating and start organizing like-minded individuals so he and his group can go about the hard business of organizing a third political party for real. He would find a very receptive audience, and I’m quite sure he would find excellent candidates also (as you can safely assume, I am definitely a kindred spirit with people left of center, though I could be inclined towards such a group if it had a fair progressive composition to it).

    The third reaction I have is appreciation and thanks to Dobbs for voicing discontent with the insufferable status quo, however imperfect his thoughts are on how to try and change things.


  • Update 11/14/07: Leave it Dobbs to try and take the self-glorifying way out here, quite probably screwing it up for the Democratic nominee.

    Crisis? Which Crisis?

    (As if we needed another one, I know…).

    I read this list of stories at Yahoo News and found myself struck dumb.

    Sorry, I don’t really have anything to say here except to point out how the world (to say nothing of our country) has spiraled out of control in the extreme under Bushco and the Repug congress (note that two of the five stories mention a crisis of one type or another).

    And as all of this is going on, Dubya STILL plans to “stay the course” and not hold talks with Iran or North Korea (even denying the existence of a nuclear test by North Korea), while the Army plans to extend our troop presence until 2010.

    Notwithstanding Dubya (who we're stuck with, at least for the time being), vote the rest of these self-serving, responsibility-denying, lying, insulated, deceitful hypocrites out of office for good on November 7th!

    (By the way, that is kinder language than I’d originally planned to use – trying to watch that as always.)

    Update: I'm late with this, I know...didn't full-of-himself entertainment writer Ken Tucker say that, "oh no, this isn't like the '60s...there are no street protests"?

    Love That Bob (Well, Sorta...)

    While Rick Santorum is using his seemingly limitless supply of Repug funds to smear Mr. Casey Jr. every conceivable way, including creating web sites full of accusations and imaginary “facts” about Casey’s supposed stands on illegal immigration, please allow me to present some real, bona fide information from the AFL-CIO and Working America.

    Get the Facts: Bob Casey and Rick Santorum

    Before you vote Nov. 7 for U.S. senator, check the record and get the facts.

    BOB CASEY WILL FIGHT FOR WORKING FAMILIES. RICK SANTORUM HAS FAILED US.

    JOBS AND WAGES

    Bob Casey Will Protect Good Jobs and Wages. Casey supports raising the minimum wage and prevailing wage laws that guarantee we are paid a fair wage. He opposes unfair trade agreements like CAFTA that send our jobs overseas. (AP State and Local Wire, 7/25/06; http://www.caseyforpa.com/)

    Rick Santorum Attacked Jobs, Wages, Benefits. Santorum voted for unfair trade deals like CAFTA that send our jobs overseas. He tried to eliminate the 40-hour workweek and cut our overtime pay, and opposed creating new jobs protected by prevailing wages. (S.1307, Vote #170, 7/1/05; S.AMDT. 128 introduced 3/7/05; Vote #68, 5/15/97; #93, 6/4/97; S.1072, #14, 2/12/04)

    HEALTH CARE

    Bob Casey Will Fight for Our Health Care. "No issue hits closer to home for me than health care." Casey advocated expanding CHIP, secured millions for our hospitals through his HELP program and supports the Family and Medical Leave Act. (The Hill, 4/26/06; Hospital & Nursing Home Week, 1/12/06)

    Rick Santorum Undercut Our Health Care. Santorum supported $14 billion in cuts to Medicaid and voted against the Family and Medical Leave Act as well as the Patients' Bill of Rights, which ensures doctors answer to patients rather than to HMOs. (S.C.R. 18, 3/17/05, Vote #58; #393, 11/13/91; #22. 2/3/93; #443, 9/30/92; S.1052, 6/29/01, #220; S.2549, #121, 6/8/00)

    RETIREMENT SECURITY

    Bob Casey Will Strengthen Our Retirement Security. Bob Casey opposes privatizing Social Security and calls it a "scheme" that would jeopardize our guaranteed benefits. (The Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/17/06; The York Dispatch, 5/10/06)

    Rick Santorum Tried to Privatize Social Security. One of the most vocal supporters of President Bush's plan to privatize Social Security, Santorum co-sponsored a bill to create private accounts and voted against protecting our Social Security benefits. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 12/6/05; The Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/27/05; S. 1302, 2005; S.Con.Res. 18, Vote #49, 3/15/05)

    Vote Nov. 7, U.S. Senate

    How you vote is a personal decision. Working America has carefully researched all the candidates' records and believes Bob Casey is the best choice for working families. Whatever you decide, please vote.

    Click
    here to learn more about the 2006 elections in Pennsylvania.
    And click here to help Bob Casey send Little Ricky packing to head back to his Virginia mansion.

    Update 10/11: Chris Durang brings us this golden moment once more with "Senator Man-On-Dog."

    The Miracle On Page 6A

    The Bucks County Courier Times actually criticized Mike Fitzpatrick today.

    I’ll repeat that because it’s so unbelievable that I can barely imagine it.

    The Bucks County Courier Times actually criticized Mike Fitzpatrick today.

    Yes, the editorial board actually said this about the swiftboating of Patrick Murphy last week:

    “It was a low blow and Fitzpatrick was wrong not to immediately disarm (Kelly and Barbato, the two military personnel who criticized Murphy).”
    The editorial also recalled Fitzpatrick’s quote that he “appreciated Pat’s service to our country,” but added:

    “Problem is, the congressman said that after the press conference and only to our reporter. During the press conference he stood mute.”
    Of course he did. The notion that this press conference was held by Kelly and Barbato to refute the charge that our troops in Iraq were betrayed by the civilian leadership of this country is nonsense.

    The press conference was held to attack Patrick Murphy. Any life form with any intelligence at all recognizes that.

    And not to worry, though – the Courier Times returned to form by the end of the editorial with these words:

    “That said, we think Murphy should get back to the issues that affect the lives of the folks he wants to represent.”
    Oh, so the fact that Patrick has to answer these scurrilous charges is somehow HIS fault?

    “Sen. John Kerry weighed in with his Swiftboat comparison as has Murphy and his local supporters. Vets rallied to demonstrate their disgust with the criticism of Murphy’s military record. The whole campaign seems to have been derailed.

    It’s time to get back on track.”
    Indeed, and how clever of the Courier Times to word this in such a way that this is somehow the fault of John Kerry and veterans sympathetic to Patrick.

    And by the way, the Courier Times completely ignored the fact that Kevin Kelly, one of Patrick’s accusers, is a member of Philadelphia’s Young Republicans.

    Nice reporting, guys.

    By the way (I meant to include this earlier), this Kos link provides a full list of Kevin Kelly's sordid affiliations.

    Update: Here's more from The Democratic Daily.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Tuesday Video

    Forgot to acknowledge the birthday of Don Baskin yesterday (who?)...

    Oh, c'mon, you remember, right? Vocalist for the Syndicate of Sound, one of the great unsung garage bands of the '60s...true "one-hit wonders"...remember?

    Well, here's "Little Girl" from "Where The Action Is" (God, is that Dick Clark?)...their "fifteen minutes" as they say.



    Playing on a sailboat, huh? Looks a bit like the Khian Sea to me (just make sure you watch your ash:-)

    An Unlikely Watchdog

    The importance of a paper backup for any votes cast with electronic machines cannot be overstated as we know, and though federal legislation to mandate this should have been passed ages ago, the fact that this has not taken place fits in perfectly with the heinous Repug legacy of endemic cronyism and incompetence.

    But this is an issue just for “good government” types, right?

    (And as you can read here, three Democratic senators tried to pass emergency legislation on this a couple of weeks ago, but of course they were outnumbered.)

    I mean, the Repugs can’t seriously address that since electronic machines can be hacked as it is, and they need that option as a last resort since they’ve done such a disastrous job, and if all else fails, “fixing” the results in their favor is a handy option.

    Well, here in Bucks County, PA, we’re going to receive electronic machines in a few weeks, and it’s no surprise that there is controversy about this. What is a surprise, as far as I’m concerned, is the fact that the drumbeat to ensure safe voting, as well as addressing a host of other issues surrounding the machines, is being played loud and clear by none other than Andrew Warren.

    Yes, that would be the same Andy Warren who was trounced by Patrick Murphy in the Democratic Primary last May, in case you were wondering. And Warren made his case in this Guest Opinion that the Courier Times printed a week ago.

    Chapter VII of Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice in Wonderland” is entitled “A Mad Tea Party.” The setting is a tea party where nothing is as it seems: questions receive no answers; the simple is complex; and the obvious is obscured.

    It occurs to me that in Bucks County the Hatter and other “Mad Tea Party” attendees have been placed in charge of the county’s new voting machine contract.

    Make no mistake. There will be an election Nov. 7. All eligible voters are urged to vote. There may be enough voting machines available. They may, in all likelihood, function well enough for an election to be conducted. So what’s the problem?

    The problem, quite simply, is that the $5 million contract that brought the “new” voting machines to Bucks County reads more like the menu at the Hatter’s Mad Tea Party than a legal document.

    How many machines will Bucks County receive for $5 million? Attachment “B” of the contract references 650 machines; attachment “E” of the very same contract references 800 machines. When those who signed the contract are asked which number is correct, one is told “Neither; The County will receive 700-some machines.” No specific number is forthcoming!

    At no fewer than three locations does the contract specify “new: voting machines.” Only upon direct questioning is one told that at some time by some unnamed individual on some unknown written document were some roughly 375-plus “new” machines replaced by “reconditioned” machines.

    Wouldn’t any individual consumer be righteously outraged if after contracting to purchase a “new” computer or a “new” automobile – upon delivery was told that “reconditioned” equipment had been substituted for his expected “new” purchase?

    Should consumers be any less outraged when what is at stake is a “public” purchase as opposed to a “private” purchase?

    When asked, “What is the difference in cost between the agreed-upon “new” machines and the delivered reconditioned machines?,” the answer from those responsible for the purchase was, “We don’t know.”

    Perhaps I’m becoming too exorcised (sic) with this issue. After all, what is at stake is not something really important like contracting for a personal computer or a new car!

    What is at issue is only a contract that could affect the sanctity of the vote for thousands of Bucks Countians!

    A public forum needs to be convened as soon as possible. The attendees should be those who signed the contract in question, interested Bucks County voters, and representatives of the public media.

    The purpose of the forum would be for clear and concise questions to receive accurate and definitive answers. And “Alice In Wonderland” could once again be relegated to a whimsical bedtime story.
    And in a similar vein, this letter to the editor appeared in the Courier Times on 10/4, the day after Warren’s column…

    I’m having trouble understanding the debate over electronic voting in Bucks County. I’m having trouble understanding why there is a debate at all.

    Polls show that an overwhelming percentage of Pennsylvania voters want a backup record of their vote on voter-verified paper ballots. We provide independent, auditable paper records of every other important transaction in our daily lives. The machines purchased by the county are notorious for breaking down and for losing votes.
    Swell…

    This week, SB1299 and HB2910, bills that would allow the voters of Pennsylvania the choice of voting on paper in November, have been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature. This is excellent news. Implementation of the bills would not present an insurmountable challenge to the state election workers and would provide a secure and recountable option to the citizens who make the time to have their voices heard on Election Day.

    I’m calling my state legislators today to ask that SB1299 and HB2910 get passed immediately so that voter-verified paper ballots are available for use in time for the November election. I encourage my fellow citizens to do the same.

    Craig Zelin
    Lower Makefield
    Great advice from Craig Zelin on that one - sorry I didn't get the word out earlier on those two bills.

    Yes, we know Andy Warren ran a positively cartoonish Democratic primary campaign a few months ago against Patrick Murphy, and I think he's way too snarky here to the point where it gets in the way of what he's trying to say (perhaps a laughable criticism coming from me, but so be it), but still I think he should be commended here for trying to ensure the integrity of our votes.

    Patrick Fights Mikey’s Mess

    Patrick Murphy and some of his fellow veterans responded to Mikey's scurrilous charges yesterday (issued by Mikey's proxies Kevin Kelly and Richard Barbato).

    To me, the most important paragraph in this story is Patrick’s statement at the very end:

    “If he (Fitzpatrick) had any backbone he would have denounced those attacks at his own press conference, but he knew what he was doing,” Murphy said. “I just did the job I was asked to do in Iraq. I have nothing to hide and nothing to prove.”
    It’s almost laughable, in a way – Fitzpatrick continues to state publicly that the purpose of his press conference was to express disagreement with Patrick’s “extreme” plan as well as the “extreme” non-plan of his own party leaders.

    And I know Mikey reached some of “the faithful” drinking the Kool Aid with these words, but I can’t imagine who else took him seriously.

    “I appreciate Pat Murphy’s service as much as anyone in our community. The purpose of the press conference was to point out the dangers of his call for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, which is a position that even the most extreme members of his party disagree with.”
    Try checking this out, Mikey, and then try telling us again why the vast majority of the people in this country who oppose Dubya’s Iraq war are “extreme.”

    And in a similar vein, this fine letter appeared in the Courier Times today.

    The “cut-and-run” attacks by Mike Fitzpatrick and his Republican moneybags on the positions taken by Patrick Murphy and Congressman Jack Murtha on bringing our troops home from Iraq are pure political “trash talk,” sloganeering without substance and vitriol without veracity.

    Congressman Murtha is a decorated Vietnam War hero and the best military mind in Congress these days.

    Patrick Murphy is a courageous veteran of the Iraq war who risked his life for our country. Mike Fitzpatrick didn’t serve in our military and has little knowledge of military affairs or the issues faced by our troops in Iraq.

    In truth, our troops have done everything they were asked to do when their mission was given to them by President Bush in 2003. They took over the country to prevent Iraq from using weapons of mass destruction against us (of course, we now know that there weren’t any WMD) and they ousted Saddam Hussein from power.

    They were not asked then or later to get involved in a virtual civil war between the Shiites and the Sunnis. Our interests are not served by “saving” a Shiite religious government that openly supports Hezbollah and is allied to Iran, a government that includes representatives of Shiite death squads that daily deposit dozens of headless and tortured bodies in Baghdad. Yet that is what “stay the course” means to our troops now in Iraq.

    What bothers Mr. Fitzpatrick and his Republican managers is the thought that al Qaeda will use our withdrawal as a propaganda ploy – just like they have used our presence there as a recruiting tool and to further jihadist sentiments among disaffected Muslims.

    But, as the recently-revealed National Intelligence Estimate has established, these al Qaeda propaganda and recruitment successes are directly attributable to the major mistakes made by President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, and their hawkish supporters, like Mr. Fitzpatrick, in their conduct of the war to date.

    Mr. Fitzpatrick and his Republican backers want to sacrifice American lives not to protect America, but in a futile effort to save George Bush and the Republican Party from the condemnation of history.

    A true patriot, one with moral courage, would stand up and say “Enough!” We cannot gain anything by getting in the middle of a 1,300-year-old war between Shiites and Sunnis, which is what Iraq has become. Let us accept our successes and move on to deal with the more significant threats to our security posed by Iran and North Korea.

    Congressman Murtha and Patrick Murphy are true patriots. Mike Fitzpatrick and his Republican “spin doctors” are not.

    Steve Sloca
    Upper Makefield, PA
    And as always, to help Patrick (the last big push is beginning, everyone), click here.

    Go Babs!

    Gee, I guess being an obnoxious lout at a Roger Waters concert wasn’t enough for Smerky – he had to take his act here also.

    Silly me, I didn’t even know he liked show tunes…

    Actually, we saw her and hubby James Brolin in Lambertville, PA a couple of weekends ago when she performed at the Wachovia center…it was funny to see the two of them walking up Union Street towards Coryell and the guys totally preoccupied with something else while their wives/girlfriends immediately froze with “OH MAH GAWD!” looks on their faces as they saw them and dragged the guys in pursuit.

    Babs is kind of short, but when it comes to heart and talent, she’s twenty feet tall (and Brolin is a monster – don’t even imagine “calling him out”).

    This makes me recall an earlier tribute to the “Funny Girl” (yeah, I know…cheap excuse to link back to a prior post).

    Thoughts On The China/Korea Stew

    I was just wondering about something.

    While we’re all preoccupied with whether or not Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are friends again, and whether or not Scarlet Johansson is “promiscuous,” or whether or not Victoria Beckham (?) “looks awful naked,” or whether or not “The Runaway Bride” is going to sue her former groom-to-be (smart guy), I just wanted to know if anyone noticed that, because of Bushco’s total failure to try and manage North Korea, there’s a distinct possibility that that country and China could end up blowing the crap out of each other when China finally says enough of Kim Jong Il is enough and takes matters into its own hands.

    I was also wondering if anyone realized that there’s also a strong likelihood that nukes would be involved in such a confrontation, since Kim, by all appearances, is crazy enough to do that (what other country would expect “congratulations” for conducting nuclear testing?).

    And I was also wondering if anyone realized that, since this would be a clash between two totalitarian regimes, I would expect China to say that, well, as long as we’re going to blast North Korea and effectively eliminate them as a hindrance in the region, why not just go into Taiwan as long as were sort of in that neighborhood and settle that untidy little issue of that country wanting to be independent also?

    And while China is thumbing its nose at the international community for all of this – this would hurt them politically and militarily for a time, though in the long run, they would likely end up even stronger than they already are – maybe Russia would seek to consolidate its ties with Iran for mutual protection? And what would India and Pakistan do in the event of all of this?

    I’m sure Bushco would be just thrilled if China settled matters with North Korea in a way that would be favorable to this country, but what would happen if China did that in a way that wasn’t favorable?

    You can call me crazy if you want, but I was just wondering.

    Oh well, I now see that there’s some late-breaking developments at CNN concerning the “Brangelina” cab ride that nearly ended in disaster, so I’m sure more updates on that will follow.

    You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

    Update 1 10/11: What Atrios sez...

    Update 2 10/11: The "straight talk express" derails again (hat tip to Atrios again).

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Monday Video

    Dr. Winston O. Boogie would have been 66 today (still a few minutes left), so to commemorate the occasion, here's "Instant Karma" from "Tops Of The Pops" in 1970 (sometimes I think this song should be the national anthem).

    One of the YouTube commenters for this video noted the decision to make sure Yoko's mike was turned off (I kept looking for her to hold up the card that said "No Talent," but I didn't see it).



    By the way, allow me to plug this movie here, highlighting this episode.

    Update 1 10/11: I meant to include this also.

    Update 2 10/11: Good...let him rot an inch at a time until he's dead.

    "Moderate" Insanity

    This great Guest Opinion from John Wible appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times today; Wible is, according to his bio, "a retired Teamster and a 25-year resident of Bucks County," living in Bensalem, Pa.

    (I hate competition, especially when it's good:-).

    In Mike Fitzpatrick’s Guest Opinion, he started by criticizing Patrick Murphy for changing his plan for the war in Iraq. Fitzpatrick then spends much of the rest of the column explaining his own changing plan for the war, as he no longer supports Bush’s “stay the course” (policy). Referring to Murphy, Fitzpatrick says, “His plan also parrots my recent call for ‘a new strategy for success in Iraq.’” I guess Fitzpatrick was for the old plan before he was against it.

    Fitzpatrick goes on to say, “We may be able to bring home one U.S. battalion for every Iraqi battalion that is prepared to operate independently.” Notice the words “may be able to,” then recall all the times we’ve heard Bush and his gang tell us how many Iraqis and Iraqi battalions were trained, and guess what? We recently had an involuntary recall of 3,500 Marines to active duty. Fitzpatrick says, “sound bites, buzz words and political opportunism will not ensure we achieve success in Iraq.” I agree, so let’s dump the “When the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down” nonsense from Bush.

    The congressman also said, “I have asked tough questions of this administration and pointed decision makers in what I believe is the right direction.” I ask you, Mike, what good did your tough questions and pointing in the right direction do? Have Rumsfeld, Cheney or Bush taken your advice? What has an alleged “moderate” like you actually accomplished in this right-wing Congress and administration?

    Have any “moderate” amendments or bills written by you actually become law? Has Bush signed anything “moderate” originated by you? Has anything “moderate” written by you gotten out of Congress and to the Bush desk? When Bush and his cohorts mention “progress” in Iraq, I visualize a man looking out the window at a driving monsoon and seeing progress in how dry it is between the raindrops.
    That was beautiful - I almost cried when I read it.

    Fitzpatrick said he writes to and meets with the Iraq Study Group and “I asked them hard questions and offered my suggestions for the most crucial areas in which we need to execute a new strategy; including better equipment for our soldiers, better training for the emerging Iraqi military and a greater focus on the economic reconstruction of Iraq.” Mike, we’ve been there for five years – you just indicted yourself and the Bush administration with that comment.

    My personal solution for Iraq is to bring the troops home tomorrow. The only thing that will change is that no more of our troops will die, no more will be maimed for life, no more spending $7 to $8 billion per month, and an end to the corruption of taxpayer dollars in Iraq. There you have it, my plan, and I have just as much credibility as the congressman and the rest of the Republicans in Congress or the White House who have yet to predict anything right about Iraq.

    By the way, in the run up to this war no one told us it would be this difficult so let’s not go there. And I’m sure Fitzpatrick doesn’t see this new plan as “cut and run,” but he may see it as “enlightened evacuation.”
    Touché.

    The congressman’s recipe for success in Iraq is thoughtful, reasoned leadership, a watchful eye and a brave voice. I ask you, Congressman Fitzpatrick, where are we going to find those things in this congress or the White House? How many more years must we wait?

    We have another election coming up and I’m reminded of the words of George Santayana: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
    By the way, the tide of the letters has definitely been running in favor of Patrick lately and against Mikey (and I'm very interested to see the response to Mikey's latest "swift boat" garbage and his refusal to call for Hastert's resignation in light of the Foley scandal). Great work, people - let's keep it up.

    And as always, to help Patrick, click here.

    Trying To Boil New Frogs

    (I know that’s a strange title for a post – I will do my best to explain it later.)

    So now that Kevin Kelly and Richard Barbato have come forward to slime Patrick Murphy on behalf of Mike Fitzpatrick, I think it’s appropriate to dig up what we can on these two bottom-feeders (I ordinarily wouldn’t use language like that towards a veteran, but when it comes to “swiftboating,” all sorts of decorum gets thrown out the window as far as I’m concerned).

    I haven’t found anything on Barbato, but I did manage to find this opinion column written by Kelly that the Inquirer published a couple of months ago (full of the Repug rah-rah rhetoric that warms the cockles of Brian Tierney’s and Bruce Toll’s coal-black hearts, no doubt).

    COMMENTARY - PHILADELPHIA REPUBLICANS

    The party needs to stop thinking it can never win
    By Kevin Kelly

    My high school football coach would always tell us, "Gentlemen, losing is a habit." With those sage words in mind, look at the inability of the Philadelphia Republican Party to win a mayoral election over the last half-century and you'll quickly realize that we are, indeed, in the habit of losing.

    The last time we were able to hang the banner of victory was in 1947, when Bernard Samuel defeated Democrat Richardson Dilworth, 413,091 votes to 321,469. Since then, city Republicans have been on a losing streak that makes our beloved Eagles look like the New York Yankees (sorry about mixing sports leagues in my metaphor).
    Oh, you’re now guilty of a much greater wrong than that, you creep.

    Excuses abound: Democratic registration outnumbers Republican 4 to 1; Philly is a union town and always will be; a Republican mayoral candidate could never get the black vote. But here's one I've never heard: We can't win because the Democratic leadership in our city is just too good, too outstanding, too competent.
    Yes, I know some legendary clowns have strutted in City Hall, but it would be too much to ask of you to take a minute and consider how Mayor Ed Rendell, David Cohen, and then-City Council President John Street straightened out the city’s finances after the debacle of the Wilson Goode administration, wouldn’t it?.

    Until someone convinces me that our city, the birthplace of the greatest nation in history, is being governed in a fashion that would please our Founding Fathers, I refuse to believe that a change in leadership is impossible.
    Typical Repug agit-prop (and by the way, here comes the explanation for the post title).

    I always liken Philadelphia voters to frogs. If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, he'll leap right out. But if you put a frog in a pot of cool water and slowly turn up the heat, he'll stay there until he boils to death.
    Kelly betrays more than he realizes with this sick analogy.

    Philly voters have been slowly boiling in a tub of systemic corruption, patronage, pay-to-play, cronyism, fiscal mismanagement, intolerably high crime, poorly performing schools, and business-killing taxes. Grab a voter from somewhere else and plop him into today's political cauldron. He'd scream bloody murder and jump right out. Not us. We let our political class keep us on slow burn.
    What colorful writing..and so far removed from reality also - as always, no examples. And “we let our political class” keep us down?

    When you say, “political class,” are you referring to career politicians? No, of course not, because that would include Mikey Fitzpatrick, your new client, or Crazy Curt Weldon, Gerlach, Pancake Joe Pitts and the rest of the sorry Repug lot, wouldn’t it?

    On the heels of one of the city's biggest corruption scandals, what name springs to mind as the voice of the loyal opposition?

    Who within the GOP is always there with an alternative vision, a better way of doing business?

    Who is constantly on watch, pointing out unethical behavior that damages the public good?

    When indictments are handed down or when the mayor's brother gets another city contract, what Republican does Channel 6 push a microphone in front of for a retort?

    The answer to all of the above is - drum roll, please - I have no idea either! For as long as I can remember, our party has utterly failed to engage Democrats over ideas that would make Philadelphia a first-class city again.

    This failure to create an alternative vision - on taxes, budgeting, schools, crime, quality of life, arts funding, social programs, and even something as simple as timing the lights to alleviate traffic jams, for goodness sake - is why every four years we look like Gerry Cooney squaring off against the young Mike Tyson. At the very least, we should learn from our losses and define how we are different from the Democrats, constantly reminding Philadelphians that there is a real and tangible substitute for the political machine that stands for high taxes, low standards, and dubious ethics.
    Or, failing that because it’s too much hard work, you can just head out of Philadelphia into a place like Bucks County where you’re a relative unknown and smear a fellow veteran because it’s easier and cheaper and garners more immediate results, right?

    And the phrase “dubious ethics” coming from a cretin like Kelly – it is to laugh.

    Instead, we continue business as usual. We run a candidate, he gets shellacked and vanishes. Three and a half years later we scramble for a candidate as if we didn't realize there'd be another election.

    How about a vision?

    A farm team that cultivates prospective leaders?

    A deep bench that we can go to when, say, a City Council seat is vacated due to a corruption conviction or when someone leaves for a stab at higher office?
    I realize Kelly wrote this with the conviction of Philadelphia City Councilman Rick Mariano fresh in everyone’s minds, and I can’t find an example of a conviction of a Philadelphia Republican politician at the moment…but I’ll keep looking.

    Just as chance favors the prepared mind, it also favors the prepared political party. Quite simply, we have been consistently and woefully unprepared.

    I realize there are many good people on both sides of an issue. There are not, however, necessarily good ideas on both sides of an issue. If the city's Republican Party hopes to rise from the ashes of mediocrity, it better get into the business of providing the best ideas on each and every topic, and then finding a vehicle for delivering those ideas. Only a real and substantial shift in our strategy and message will produce meaningful results. It will not be an easy change to make, but hard work spotlights the character of people: Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.

    In order to be walked on, you have to be lying down. Our party has been lying down for far too long, and many Republicans are tired of it. They want to see a game plan with clear, measurable and achievable objectives. They want to be valued and contributing members of that plan. They want a party that is a force for change in the city we all love, a city that is hungry for and deserving of truly outstanding leadership. Please don't tell me that game plan is the status quo.
    Isn't it funny in a sick, twisted way to read this self-serving garbage and then see Kelly hit below the belt the first chance he gets?

    Again, I have to wonder about this; if Kelly wanted so much to present some kind of Republican alternative for Philadelphia, then why the hell is he in Bucks County campaigning for Mike Fitzpatrick by sliming his opposition (did he "cut and run" from the City of Brotherly Love)?

    Oh, I forgot to add this earlier; Kelly's Inquirer column was noticed by Philadelphia Reug party boss Billy Meehan, and this City Paper column that describes how Philadelphia Repugs reacted includes what I thought was a pithy quote:

    While Republicans in the city have not held power for 50 years, there are some out there. GOP City Committee General Counsel Michael Meehan, whose grandfather Austin, and father, Billy, held the reins of power when the Republicans had control, disagrees with Kelly's assessment that Republicans are shadow Democrats.

    "Kevin should be recruiting committee people and candidates rather than hosting wine-and-cheese parties," said Michael Meehan during an interview from his office at Wolf Block. "The Republican Party is not going to gain power overnight. It takes time — and that time will come."
    Billy Meehan has been saying that for awhile now, by the way, and one day, he may actually be right.

    Counterfeit Deterrence

    I have nothing to add to this great post from Josh Marshall about North Korea apparently conducting underground nuclear testing, except to point out that sacrificing a sensible policy on North Korean nukes in the name of prosecuting that country for copied US currency looks pretty damn stupid right about now, don't you think?

    (I don't know how much posting I'll be doing today, by the way.)

    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    Sunday Video

    David Lee Roth turns 53 on October 10th, so here's his cover of "Just A Gigolo" (don't remember who did the original - Louis Prima?) from the '80s (I love the parodies of the other videos from that era, including Billy Idol getting knocked into the transformer).

    I also wonder if he'd done better on talk radio if he'd been given more of a chance by Infinity, but I guess we'll never know.