Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday Videos

I was really sorry to read here that the 40th anniversary of Johnny Cash's concert at Folsom Prison was canceled (here's "The Man In Black" performing "Folsom Prison Blues" in 1990 with The Highwaymen)...

...and to mark the end of the first week of ultra-conservative shill and Iraq War cheerleader Bill Kristol's new gig at the New York Times (where he ran into a bit of difficulty), here's "I Don't Like Mondays" by The Boomtown Rats, featuring a very young Sir Bob Geldof (fitting for the only day Kristol's screeds appear, and yes, I know this song is about the shootings by Brenda Ann Spencer in San Diego in 1979, mentioned here).

Today's "Dubya Moment"

From this post I found on the web site of the Baltimore Sun yesterday, concerning the visit of George W. Milhous Bush to the Middle East...

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — After descending the stone stairs to the dim grotto beneath the Church of the Nativity, President Bush lit a candle Thursday and stood in silent, somber reflection at the place where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.

Emerging a short while later into the sunlit courtyard outside, he described the experience as "a moving moment for me. ... For those of us who practice the Christian faith, there's really no more holy site than the place where our Savior was born."
From this post by Chris Kelly at HuffPo yesterday...

"War on the one hand is such a terrible, such an atrocious thing, that no man, especially no Christian man, has the right to assume the responsibility of beginning it." - Tolstoy
And don't worry; even though Coulter would never return the favor and Kelly's post is funny, I won't take a shot at her as she deals with the recent loss of her father.

And time is short at the moment, so I also wouldn't expound on the laughable notion that George W. Bush is actually a Christian.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Videos

Louis XIV ("Finding Out True Love Is Blind" - kind of loud and a little spacey looking, for effect of course; "hey, carrot juice," huh?)...

...Happy Birthday to Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers ("Galvanize," a cautionary tale for sneaking into a club without proper ID; hip hop definitely isn't my thing, but it's got a good beat and the kids like it, so...)...

...happy belated birthday to David Bowie ("Ashes To Ashes"; I read that he was going for a Salvador Dali thing with this - vivid imagery and unforgettably strange)...

...and Happy Birthday to Vicki Peterson of The Bangles (their cover of "A Hazy Shade Of Winter" by Simon and Garfunkel; I think the movie clips are from "Less Than Zero," but I'm not 100 percent sure - foreshadowing what really happened with Robert Downey, Jr. a bit, though thankfully he's still with us).

Friday Political Stuff

I've been meaning to give a plug to the campaign at The Daily Kos to encourage Michigan Democrats to vote for Willard Mitt Romney in their upcoming primary (more info here - and in a related vein, Jackie and Dunlop offer their commentary on the flap over Mitt and the dog doody on his car from awhile back; the "s" word is flying around all over the place here)...

...and for a complete change of pace, here's the trailer for "For The Bible Tells Me So" from Brave New Films (more info here - powerful stuff).

Trying To “Ground” “REAL ID”

The Bushco beat goes on (here)…

Residents of at least 17 states are suddenly stuck in the middle of a fight between the Bush administration and state governments over post-Sept. 11 security rules for driver's licenses – a dispute that, by May, could leave millions of people unable to use their licenses to board planes or enter federal buildings.
And you just knew that DHS Secretary Mike (“City Of Louisiana”) Chertoff was in the middle of this somehow, didn’t you?

(Chertoff), who was unveiling final details of the REAL ID Act's rules on Friday, said that if states want their licenses to remain valid for air travel after May 2008, those states must seek a waiver indicating they want more time to comply with the legislation.
Or, of course, Chertoff could use some common sense for a change and actually delay implementation until the concerns of the states in question were addressed…but we know that’s not Bushco’s “M.O.,” don’t we?

Chertoff, as he revealed final details of the REAL ID Act, said that in instances where a particular state doesn't seek a waiver, its residents will have to use a passport or a newly created federal passport card if they want to avoid a vigorous secondary screening at airport security.

“The last thing I want to do is punish citizens of a state who would love to have a REAL ID license but can't get one,” Chertoff said. “But in the end, the rule is the rule as passed by Congress.”
And what an appropriate transition to this Wikipedia article on the REAL ID Act, which notes that the Act was “ a rider on a military spending bill (H.R. 1268, which also included tsunami relief)” and then “passed the joint House-Senate conference report on that bill 100-0…There was no debate whatsoever on this piece of legislation.”

Of course there wasn’t. Why, who on earth would want to look soft both on the War On Terra, Terra, Terra You Godless Hillary-Clinton-Crying-Lovin’ Li-b-uruul and the urgent matter of assistance for the victims of a catastrophic act of nature halfway around the world by actually discussing this crappy legislation like adults?

And fittingly, Dubya signed this mess into law in May 2005 (stand up and take a bow one more time, you boneheads of the 109th Congress).

And if you’ll notice, the AP article states that “at least 17 states” are contesting REAL ID, but according to the Wikipedia article, it sounds like the only states that are nearing full compliance are California, New York, Alabama, North Carolina, and North Dakota. There are 17 states that have passed legislation opposing REAL ID, as noted, but there are 19 other states contemplating similar legislation.

Gee, that sounds like a pretty sizeable majority of our country opposes REAL ID, and this CNN legal analysis tells us why. In addition to the fact that this unfunded mandate puts huge financial burdens on the affected states…

...The act requires photos to be digital so authorities can include them in the multi-state database…But the IDs must also include additional features that drivers' licenses and non-driver ID cards do not incorporate.

For instance, the ID must include features designed to thwart counterfeiting and identity theft. Unfortunately, while including such features may sound appealing, on the whole, these IDs may make our identities less safe.

Once Real ID is in effect, all 50 states' DMVs will share information in a common database and may also verify information given to them against various federal databases. In addition, it's very possible that such data will be sold to commercial entities: Some states already allow driver's license data to be sold to third parties.

Even with current, unlinked databases, thieves increasingly have turned their attention to DMVs. Once databases are linked, access to the all-state database may turn out to be a bonanza for identity thieves.

Finally, the IDs must include a "common machine-readable technology" that must meet requirements set out by the Department of Homeland Security. And, somewhat ominously, Homeland Security is permitted to add additional requirements -- which could include "biometric identifiers" such as our fingerprints or a retinal scan.

It's that "machine-readable technology" requirement, along with the possibility of Homeland Security add-ons, that raises the most serious risk that the Real ID Act will cause privacy violations. (The fact that the technology must be "common" also raises the already-high risk of identity theft.)
The AP story also notes that the ID cards won’t contain microchips, a concern noted in the CNN analysis. However, who’s to say that that issue won’t be revisited by DHS?

And a huge issue for yours truly, among many others I’m sure, is who would be responsible for the manufacturing of these cards and how “open” would the technology be used in this process? And what kind of legitimate congressional oversight would be involved?

Personally, I’m still torn on the theory of a national ID card, which is what we’re talking about here of course despite the fact that the states are shouldering the burden (and this tells you how REAL ID was intended as a tool to be used by anti-immigrant hysterics such as House Repug James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the creator of this monster, pictured above).

Update 1/12/08: "They could screw up making jello," indeed.

Et tu, Ned?

I gritted my teeth a bit, I’ll admit, when I read here that John Kerry endorsed Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination; though I honestly don’t think Kerry was trying to slam John Edwards, I don’t think it showed much loyalty either (but then again, I think endorsing The Last Honest Man would actually have been the right thing for Al Gore to do in 2004; even though Lieberman had no shot, thank God, they did campaign together four years earlier).

But when I read here from Matt Stoller that Ned Lamont, the former Democratic senatorial candidate from Connecticut in 2006, endorsed Obama, that’s when I knew I had to say something.

I should note that the numbers definitely favor Obama over Edwards at the moment as we know, though Hillary has a huge lead in the super delegate count – sorry, but you’ll have to check The Daily Kos if you want to find out more about what that means exactly. And I also realize that many big Democratic names are jumping all over themselves trying to climb onto the “Obama-rama” bandwagon (Patrick Murphy’s decision to endorse when he did still looks prescient, but we’ll see).

But see Ned, here’s the rub; John Edwards campaigned for you. Not Barack Obama (who spoke out for Lieberman and didn’t even come to Connecticut for fear of offending Holy Joe), and certainly not Hillary Clinton (Bill, according to Stoller, went on Larry King soon after Lamont won and said “there was no difference between the candidates,” basically torpedoing Lamont’s support and costing him the election).

No, Ned, John Edwards had your back. And that’s one of the reasons we in the netroots hold Edwards in such high regard; because he stands on principle even when it’s unpopular.

I think you’re a fair minded guy who’s trying to do what you think is right for the party as a whole.

But still, you blew it.

Update: Jane Smiley of HuffPo has more here; Larry O'Donnell was a fraud when he lost his mind tearing into Willard Mitt Romney also - the last thing I'm doing to do is defend The Mittster, but that doesn't mean that you turn into a spitting, hysterical fool against him either.

And by the way, I encourage anyone reading this to follow Jane's example (here).

A Correct But Painful Strategy

This Yahoo News story tells us...

JERUSALEM - President Bush had tears in his eyes during an hour-long tour of Israel's Holocaust memorial Friday and told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the U.S. should have bombed Auschwitz to halt the killing, the memorial's chairman said.

Bush emerged from a tour of the Yad Vashem memorial calling it a "sobering reminder" that evil must be resisted, and praising victims for not losing their faith.

Wearing a yarmulke, Bush placed a red-white-and-blue wreath on a stone slab that covers ashes of Holocaust victims taken from six extermination camps. He also lit a torch memorializing the victims.

Bush was visibly moved as he toured the site, said Yad Vashem's chairman, Avner Shalev.

"Twice, I saw tears well up in his eyes," Shalev said.

At one point, Bush viewed aerial photos of the Auschwitz camp taken during the war by U.S. forces and called Rice over to discuss why the American government had decided against bombing the site (during World War II), Shalev said.
Reasonable people can disagree on this matter (one of the most serious imaginable, I know), but this Wikipedia article concerning the question of the Allies bombing Auschwitz tells us…

The British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, did not see bombing as a solution, given that bombers were inaccurate and would also kill prisoners on the ground. The land war would have to be won first.
The article also goes on to describe the bombing runs that took place in the vicinity of Auschwitz after the Allies took control of European airspace in March 1944, and "one bomb fell into the camp grounds (and the) Monowitz forced labor camp 5 kilometres (3 miles) from Auschwitz was bombed four times. On December 26, 1944, the U.S. 455th Bomb Squadron bombed Monowitz and targets near Birkenau (which was part of Auschwitz)."

Knowing what I know of this (and for whatever my opinion is worth here), I believe the only way to liberate the Nazi death camps was the manner in which it was accomplished by our forces through ground patrols. Bombing would have caused the Germans to evacuate and either leave their camp prisoners or kill all of them outright, though I realize that might have been preferable to some of the treatment they endured. And many of the prisoners required medical attention; how would they have received that while bombs destroyed everything in sight (and also consider the very real possibility of errant bombing that would have killed prisoners on top of those who had died already).

And on the other side of the argument, author Michael Berenbaum presents this.

As I said, reasonable people can disagree here, and this is a rare occasion where I will acknowledge that Bush could have been carried away by the intense emotional fervor of the moment. But his words indirectly cast blame on a generation of leadership that preceded him, betraying his cluelessness on the job once more.

Besides, maybe this would not have been a question had Dubya’s grandfather not cozied up to Fritz Thyssen, one of Uncle Adolf’s leading steel manufacturers, and the Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC), based in mineral rich Silesia on the German-Polish border whose company used slave labor partly from Auschwitz (here).

Maybe that’s a reason why Dubya is so ignorant of history; it’s got too much dirt in it from his family.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Videos

James ("Laid")...

...Jim Croce would have been 65 today ("These Dreams," with Maury Muehleisen, as always)...

...Happy Birthday to Shawn Colvin ("Round Of Blues," keeping it in a folky vein)...

...and happy belated birthday to Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth ("Walking On The Sun").

Thursday Political Stuff

Memo to Al Sharpton: You want to protest something? Then how about helping with this instead of trying to persecute a golf announcer (and yes, I know she was suspended for two weeks, which is ridiculous)...

...and "The Pap Attack" takes on George Will (awesome).

"Duffer" Sharpton Tries To Club His Way To Relevancy

(Posting is a question mark for tomorrow, by the way – I just don’t know at the moment. And a “duffer” is a term for a really bad golfer, just so you know.)

This may all sound strange from someone who calls himself a liberal, but I have to say it; I had a feeling Al Sharpton was going to worm his way back into the spotlight somehow (and he keeps such good company also, as you can see).

As incendiary and ultimately annoying a figure as he is, I didn’t really take issue with him over the Imus/Rutgers women’s basketball team brouhaha last year because I thought he was fundamentally on the right side of the issue (primarily because Imus was a repeat offender who made his name doing that sort of thing).

But today, we find out that Kelly Tilghman, an analyst for The Golf Channel, made a remark about lynching concerning Tiger Woods, but quickly realized what she’d done and apologized (and Woods, who has been nothing but gracious in incidents like this as far as I’ve ever read, accepted her apology).

And that should be the end of it.

But of course, with Al Sharpton lurking out there, you know it isn’t.

Sharpton says it is the word -- not the person or their history -- that matters. In a Wednesday interview, he compared Tilghman's statement to calling for a woman to be raped or for a Jewish-American to be sent to a gas chamber.

"Lynching is not murder in general. It is not assault in general. It is a specific racial term that this woman should be held accountable for," the reverend said. "What she said is racist. Whether she's a racist -- whether she runs around at night making racist statements -- is immaterial."
Wow, easy to throw around unsubstantiated charges knowing you may not get called on it, isn't it, Al?

Sharpton said he wants Tilghman fired, period. And if the Golf Channel doesn't comply, the network can expect to see Sharpton and his National Action Network supporters picketing its Orlando, Florida, headquarters.
Fine. Go protest over this, then. If you do, I’m going to ridicule you from my admittedly tiny perch here in the lefty “blogosphere” (still can’t get comfortable with that word, actually). And if it turns out that I’m in ideological unity for a change with the freepers and their online brethren whom I usually loathe and despise, then so be it.

Of course, you can protest anyone and anything with impunity, Al, because you’re perfect (by the way, have you heard from Tawana Brawley lately?).

The one aspect of the 2008 Democratic presidential primary that I have to admit I’ve enjoyed is your absence from the stage! If there was one thing that continually disgusted me in past elections, it was the fact that none of the candidates would call you out for being a buffoon and an expert at self-promotion because they needed the black vote to win the election.

However, with Barack Obama running, you automatically lost any faux legitimacy you may have ever had in the eyes of some men and women of color (though I would have loved to actually see you on stage with Obama so he could have oratorically taken you apart).

To change the subject slightly, I have to admit that the timing of this latest Sharpton mess is particularly bad for your humble narrator, since it comes on the heels of New Jersey’s recent apology for slavery, hence my admitted crankiness here.

And what exactly is it that that’s supposed to accomplish, other than “grease the skids” for someone in New Jersey government to mention the “R” word (“reparations,” that is)? If someone does that, I hope they get hooted down as quickly as Reverend Al should be.

You want to talk apologies? Fine. I’m waiting for the City of Philadelphia to apologize for the Nativist Riots of 1844, since I’m an Irish-Catholic descendant who grew up in “The City of Brotherly Love.”

But just to let you know, Al, I don’t plan to protest over it outside of a government building or place of business. You see, I’ll be doing something else.

I’ll be working.

For my employer.

Getting paid.

And not feeling sorry for myself.

Why don’t you try it sometime?

Update: I think this is utter crap.

Wanna Watch "Seven Days In May"?

This post from Chris Bowers at Open Left, echoing Matt Yglesias, tells us that the winner of the Repug primary in New Hampshire, along with his fellow party mate Joe Lieberman, believes we…

…should adjust those (Iraq troop) numbers based on conditions on the ground and the recommendations of our commanders…first and foremost, Gen. Petraeus, who above all others has proven that he knows how to steer this war to a successful outcome.
Can someone please notify me when this “successful outcome” in Iraq is finally achieved? Because only then will I make a final judgment as to whether or not Petraeus and our military leadership have been successful (as opposed to those in our political leadership who aren’t so stupidly willing to cede the power they were endowed by virtue of their election to public office; actually, the character played by Burt Lancaster wouldn’t even have to stage a coup since “Senator Honor And Virtue” and his “independent” flunky would hand the power over to him).

And in other war news (here)…

Democrats are likely to try again to set a timetable on troop withdrawals from Iraq when Congress reconvenes this year. But with Republicans sticking firmly behind the president, Democrats know it is unlikely such measures will pass for now.

Some moderates say they hope 2008 will be the year of compromise, in which Democratic leaders will agree to swing behind softer anti-war legislation in a bid to entice moderate Republicans. Republican support for legislation is crucial because Democrats hold a narrow margin of control in Congress and lack the two-thirds support to overcome a veto.
Here we go with the same pathetic song-and-dance we heard about this time last year from Repugs like John Warner and Huckleberry Graham about how they might be persuaded to support a timeline for troop withdrawal (and nothing changed, of course).

Dear God…

Bear-ly Tolerable Freeper Attacks On Global Warming

The Philadelphia Inquirer, in its “Lightning Round” editorial segment today, actually made a good observation concerning the delay of Bushco’s Interior Department (under Dirk Kempthorne, who is at least as big of a disaster for the environment as his predecessor Gale Norton) to list the polar bear as an endangered species, allowing the Minerals Management Service to “open up nearly 30 million acres of Alaskan waters to oil and gas leasing in the heart of polar bear country.”

By the way, the head of the Minerals Management Service is Randall Luthi, who rose within the Repugs ranks with the mentoring of “Deadeye Dick” Cheney (both came from Wyoming). Need I say more?

And in this related New York Times opinion column from last Saturday, Alaska Repug governor Sarah Palin makes a few disingenuous arguments against listing the polar bear as endangered, including this one…

“(It would be) based on uncertain modeling of possible effects.”
That’s some fancy language that translates to “junk science,” by the way. And Palin also states that “the Endangered Species Act is not the correct tool to address climate change,” a sentence which, to me, is breathtaking in its stupidity.

And here with the point of view of the reality-based community is Kassie Siegel, climate program director at the Center for Biological Diversity…

(Siegel) said all science has a degree of uncertainty but that uncertainty is very low for the polar bear.

Polar bears eat mostly seals and other fatty marine animals that they hunt from sea ice. The bears prefer to hunt from ice that hangs over shallow continental shelf waters, which contain more prey than deeper waters offshore.

But summer sea ice in the polar bears' Arctic habitat is shrinking and retreating farther and farther from the coastline, which crimps the bears' ability to forage efficiently. Some bears are starving to death.

Scientists believe human-caused global warming is contributing to the decline in sea ice habitat.

Saving polar bears, therefore, requires human action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, Siegel noted. But taking such action is a political decision.

"We know what we have to do to save polar bears," she said. "We just have to start doing it."
And to help, click here (and a reminder for our dear corporate media cousins appears below).

Somewhere Dubya Is Loved At Last

Yes, we all know that George W. Milhous Bush is currently in the Middle East playing president and pretending to care about negotiating peace between Israel and Palestine (even predicting a peace treaty by the time he is FINALLY out of office), but I’d just like to take a moment and contrast this frantic, last-minute scramble by a highly unpopular head of state with the more methodical approach of a president who actually knew what he was doing on this vital issue (aided in a huge way by Anwar Al Sadat of Egypt, who ultimately died because of his recognition of Israel).

As this Wikipedia article about the Camp David Accords tells us…

(Former President Jimmy) Carter also wasted no time in visiting the heads-of-state on whom he would have to rely to make any peace agreement feasible. By the end of his first year in office, he had already met with (Sadat), King Hussein of Jordan, Hafez al-Assad of Syria, and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel. Carter's and (Secretary of State Cyrus) Vance's exploratory meetings gave him a basic plan for reinvigorating the peace process based on the Geneva Conference and Israeli withdrawal on all fronts, including the West Bank.
Of course, concerning Camp David, the call for West Bank withdrawal came in 1977-1978, and 30 years later, it is still being negotiated with the Israelis (noted here).

Also, I just want to note the following paragraph of the New York Times’ coverage on this story...

Mr. Bush’s visit was only the second by an American president to the Palestinian territories. Bill Clinton visited Gaza and the West Bank in 1998 during a previous push for peace that was overshadowed by his impending impeachment concerning his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
God, was it really necessary to point that out (seeing as how it has so much to do with that area of the world - not)? Again??!!

And not that I’m actually taking President Nutball’s antics seriously, but Atrios noted here that Dubya’s record on foreign policy predictions in particular leaves a bit to be desired.

The post title, by the way, refers to the reception Dubya received in Tel Aviv when he arrived. I heard about it on NPR (can’t find a link at the moment), and it doesn’t surprise me in the least; Israel should love him seeing as how this president launched his proxy war in Iraq on their behalf.

Update: Oh, and I'm...umm...honored (yeah, that's it, honored) to be on the same wave length here as The Onion (h/t kos - actually I really am; some very indelicate but true commentary here).

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wednesday Political Stuff

"Straight Talk McCain" wants his own "Hundred Years War," I see (aren't you proud of your vote for this clod, you Granite State Repugs? And I'll take a shot at Chris Shays another time)...

...and Chris Matthews has ALREADY provided us the stupidest pundit blatherings of 2008 so far (h/t Atrios, and here is a response from Molly Ivors to the "Hillary treatment" from Maureen Dowd that applies to Tweety also; MoDo was another offender today, and here is something we can do about it).

Patrick Pummeled In Wednesday Wingnuttia

Wow, check out this joke of a letter that appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times this morning…

In a recent interview with the Courier Times, Bucks County Congressman Patrick Murphy speaks proudly of his accomplish- ments during the past year. If only long hours and self promotion equaled accomplishment.

The approval ratings for Congress are at an all-time low, mostly the result of Nancy Pelosi's leadership in the House. Murphy was useful initially in Pelosi's anti-war agenda but the Democrats have failed miserably with the execution of their strategy, of which Murphy was an important component. Sixty attempts to force troop withdrawals or de-fund the war resulted in failure.

Meanwhile, the Democrat-led Congress conducted some 400 partisan hearings or investigations as part of their real payback agenda to Republicans and President Bush.

Murphy can, however, claim distinction for being near the top of the list of freshman Democrats requesting and distributing special interest money or earmarks, according to USA Today. He'll need that influence in the next election cycle when he's the incumbent, not the first-time challenger. As an incumbent he'll need a record of achievement to run on. Unfortunately for Murphy, there is none.

Austin Thornton Jr.
Oh really?

Let’s see, just the other day, Patrick was praised by Gene Karpinski of the League of Conservation Voters for supporting the recently-passed Energy Bill (here), he also co-sponsored the Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act, which will prevent Americans from losing their jobs because their employers can't compete with cheaply made sweatshop goods (here), he also worked with Bensalem, PA solicitor Joseph Pizzo in trying to pass the Clean Railroads Act which would close a long-existing loophole in federal law that “(allows) rail companies to run roughshod over state and local laws and the will of a community” (in this case regarding the issue of trash disposal - here), he has also sought input from Republicans on issues that are vital to our district (including former State Senator Joe Conti – here)…am I going too fast for you, Thornton Jr., or did you go to college?

And of course, it’s Patrick’s fault as we know that he hasn’t been able to rein in President Nightmare and his atrocity in Iraq (a pox on the “Democrat” party leadership, I’ll admit, but the Repugs haven’t budged one inch while stories like this have appeared one after another after another after another).

Oh, and the earmarks – here’s more information on how Patrick will supposedly be able to line his pocket according to Thornton Jr. I’m sure our 8th district rep will make himself rich beyond his dreams securing funding for Lower Makefield and Bristol, PA police, at-risk youth assistance, defense against bioterror, flood plain management, sewer infrastructure in Yardley, medical equipment for St. Luke and St. Mary's hospitals, the I-95/Turnpike connector in Bensalem, PA, and the James A. Michener museum in Doylestown, PA.

It’s almost too damn funny for words.

I’ll tell you what, Thornton Jr. – instead of composing such bilious garbage, why don’t you instead write to your Repug party poobahs in these parts and ask them who’s going to run against Patrick this fall. If he’s done so badly, then how come none of the names mentioned here and elsewhere (including Gene DiGirolamo and Mikey himself – hell, this is a wide-open opportunity for Andy Warren to show his true colors once and for all) have committed?

And as always, to learn more, click here.

A Question For Mike Huckabee

This story tells us the following…

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by journalists seeking to open executions to more scrutiny, saying there was no guaranteed right to see the whole process, including the strapping-down of the condemned inmate and the insertion of needles.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright rejected the journalists' argument the public had a First Amendment right to see every step of an execution in Arkansas.

In her ruling issued Monday, Wright also noted that executions have “moved from the public square to inside prison walls,” an area where the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled reporters have no special right to access.

A case before the U.S. Supreme Court focuses on a three-drug cocktail used by 37 states, claiming the condemned could suffer intense pain without being able to cry out. That pending case in effect stopped executions in Arkansas and other states until a ruling by justices.
If I could, I would ask Huckabee whether or not he thought this was a fair ruling (as I’ve said before, I don’t have a problem with the existence of the death penalty, but I do have a problem with its application).

I haven’t found any comment from Huckabee on this case yet, but I think we can assume some of what he may think about this based on this information, which states in part… 1997, on the eve of a triple execution in Arkansas, Huckabee was asked on a radio call call-in show about his position on the death penalty. Huckabee responded, "Interestingly enough, if there was ever an occasion for someone to have argued against the death penalty, I think Jesus could have done so on the cross and said, 'This is an unjust punishment and I deserve clemency.' " But since he didn't ask for clemency, Huckabee's argument follows, the death penalty is just fine.
Is this guy a “snake oil salesman,” or what?

Easy to joke about death but not so easy to look the matter in the eye when someone else’s life is on the line, is it, Governor?

Update 1/10/08: And let's not forget that Huckabee considers Scalia his "own personal hero on the (Supreme Court)" (here), so I suppose this isn't so surprising.

"Channelling" Martin And Roberts On “A La Carte” Cable

(Note: I’m posting about this partly because there is so much stupid pundit blathering about New Hampshire last night that I’m trying to do something different – and yes, I’ll admit that it was bad news for John Edwards, though we have a ways to go here.)

The Philadelphia Inquirer notes here that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts gave the keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas yesterday, with Roberts using the opportunity to plug “tru2way,” the company’s “new technology to allow electronics manufacturers to develop interactive devices that work on its 25-million-subscriber cable network,” according to the story.

However, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, while participating in a panel discussion said that “tru2way” was “a good start, but not the final solution.”

Industry analysts who know more about this stuff than I do think that Roberts and Martin aren’t exactly buds these days because of Roberts’ opposition to “a la carte” cable (supported by Martin) which basically means that cable subscribers would pay for each channel and (so the thinking goes) lower cable TV rates.

Part of what’s difficult for me concerning this story is that it involves two really bad apples as far as I’m concerned; this related New York Times story (referenced in the Inquirer) notes that Martin’s FCC is investigating complaints of Comcast’s alleged interference with online file sharing (a ruling against Comcast would help bolster Net Neutrality as an abiding principle of Internet activity – the FCC has broadly supported it, but that support hasn’t been tested yet).

And as far as Martin is concerned, he narrowly missed being named Dregs Of The Year by yours truly for 2007 (for whatever that’s worth – not much, I’ll admit…many reasons, notably this one).

Martin touts “a la carte” cable as a means to lower subscriber rates, but as noted here…

According to the FCC, the average family only watches seventeen channels. If this describes your family, then there is a chance that you could save money with a la carte programming. However, Booz Allen Hamilton, an industry consultant, says that the FCC overestimated the average cost per cable channel by as much as fifty percent. This so-called error really makes the difference in whether the average family would save money on pay-per-channel programming or not.

(Martin) is the commission's strongest supporter of the change. His primary concern seems to be that cable companies have been raising their rates consistently over the last few years. In the last five years, for example, the average family's television spending increased by 35.7 percent. Martin explains that the FCC is getting involved to try and persuade cable companies to better meat (sic) consumer demands.
The cable operators, as you might expect, don’t think so…

…(they) say full channel choice will result in extra costs for customers, who already pay an average of $40 each month for "extended basic cable" which usually includes between 70 and 80 channels.

"Under an a la carte plan, that same $40 would probably result in a handful of channels, fewer than 10," says Brian Dietz, spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, an industry trade group in Washington. The existing "bundle" plans provide "the best value and widest variety of programming for the customer," he says.
I very reluctantly have to go along with the cable operators here, partly because of this (also noted in the CS Monitor story)…

…Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) of California, warned in a newspaper column last month that "the cable industry's most exciting new talent - scores of programs for Latinos, African-Americans, women and others - would be the first casualties" of an a la carte system because they wouldn't be able to reach enough viewers to survive.
Kevin Martin has one goal and one goal only as FCC chairman, and that is to consolidate the corporate voice at the expense of all others (yet another example of the “values voters” getting played by the Repugs here, since some of their “Bible beaters” of choice could end up getting cut out also). He could care less about rising cable rates; he just wants to pretend he does so we all have our “bread and circuses” and remain as compliant as possible while the information we need to make informed decisions slowly grinds to a halt at the behest of Time Warner, Disney, Microsoft, and General Electric.

Concerning Comcast, though, I should note that this is a theoretical argument only for your humble narrator, since the Doomsy household switched over to Verizon FIOS a few days ago (for a better price, we get enhanced picture quality and sound on TV and much faster Internet connectivity).

And I’ll be honest; we also walked away from Comcast because they continue to give a pay check to this guy (haven’t come up with a “next step” yet, but I’ll think of something).

One more thing - was this a sweet deal for Roberts' old man, or what (update 7/3/08: To be fair, I think he restructured it later, but I'm not positive; I'll keep checking).

Really, Dana?

Let’s file this one and check back on it later, shall we?

According to this post on the ABC blog Political Radar, White House press propagandist Dana Perino communicated the following (re: the support her boss George W. Milhous Bush will provide for the Republican Party presidential nominee)…

"Once we have a named candidate," Perino adds, "You will see this president campaign for them vigorously."
(Dubya didn’t look very “vigorous” in supporting the New Hampshire primary winner here, did he?).

Putting aside the obvious grammatical problem in that sentence, I think that’s an interesting observation, particularly given the fact that the Republican Party presidential candidates have, to date, tried to put as much distance as they could between themselves and President 25 Percent Mandate (as noted here).

Well, I’ll just have to revisit this post after the Repug convention and try to hold Perino to her word (and as noted here, she’s just been so “above board” with the journos at all times, hasn’t she?).

The Repug "Reckoning" Is In Full Swing

And now, for the best political analysis I've read in a long time...from Time, the Philadelphia Inquirer - hah! - The New Yorker or "The Old Gray Lady"?

Not on your life; it would be here from Bill in Portland, Maine via The Daily Kos...

Eight years of Bush/Cheney, six years of brass-knuckled Republican rule in Congress, and a two decade assault by the in-your-face, "do as I say, not as Jesus would do" evangelical screamers have left Americans exhausted by it all. There's really nothing of substance Republicans can point to that has worked. Not in education, defense, security, energy, foreign policy, fiscal policy, infrastructure, health care, planet care, science...nuthin'. Well, okay, there was the $300 refund check we got in the summer of '01. Thanks---the Ramen noodles were tasty.

So I think we have a real shot at kicking GOP ass---up and down the ballot---big-time in ten months. I'm excited. Hopeful. Optimistic. [Insert random synonyms from thesaurus here.] Bush promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House" and then---to put it indelicately---fucked us. He ignored the left entirely, and played the right for suckers. And since suckers hate to admit they've been duped, the Republican candidates are acting like everything's hunky dory. But it ain't, and a helluva lot more fingers are pointing at them than us.
And I'll bet he probably isn't even in the Guild (God knows he'll never get invited to the White House Correspondents Dinner and Dubya Fluffing either).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tuesday Videos

Foo Fighters ("Times Like These")...

...and Elvis Aaron Presley would have been 73 today ("Jailhouse Rock").

Tuesday Political Stuff

Congratulations to "St. McCain"; actually, this was an easy call for the punditocracy since he won it in 2000 and hasn't appreciably changed much since then, but still, credit where it's due goes with this fitting video...

...and this is just a reminder as to why "America's Mayor" may have missed out on the Granite State fun tonight.

Tuesday Mashup (1/8)

  • A group called the California Nurses Association ran a full-page ad in the New York Times yesterday correctly stating that “everyone deserves Cheney care”; to learn more about the group, here’s a Daily Kos diary providing background and further information about HR 676 here, which calls for “Medicare For All” (Edwards is probably closest to supporting something like this among the candidates).

  • Man, how would you like to be Mark Penn these days?

    I mean, the guy not only gets “taken to the woodshed” by Kagro X here for spinning poll results decidedly giving an advantage to Barack Obama (though, as Glenn Greenwald noted earlier, “trend” stats favor John Edwards – sorry for dwelling on numbers like this, an easy trap to fall into), but his “union-busting” division at mega-PR firm Burson-Marsteller (which he heads, of course) gets exposed for all the world to see by Mark Schmitt here (day-old news, I know).

    And on top of that, it turns out that, according to this Parade Magazine article by Gail Sheehy, he was hired by Benazir Bhutto to “(play) up to Musharraf” (nothing further need be said there, I realize).

    Penn has obviously lived on the high wire for some time and was due for a fall, but I cannot imagine how it could have come at a worse time for him or his most visible client; we’ll see what happens with “Obama-rama” of course, but for now, he’s got to help HRC to start getting some primary wins, and somehow I think he’s going to need a lot more than “Mom-Fluentials Research” (Schmitt explains) to get it done.

  • Update: At least Penn, Hil and company can take a bow for now.

  • Shed no tears for Trent Lott, by the way, as he departs to the private sector and thus cashes in from his years in government; an ideological transition from A to B will take place as you might expect with Repug Gov. Haley Barbour’s appointment of Mississippi U.S. House rep Roger Wicker to fill Lott’s seat - here.

    And where will Lott go? Why, to work with former Democratic Senator John Breaux to form their own “consulting” group (here - some of Breaux’s shilling for the utterly ridiculous Medicare Part D drug plan is noted here).

  • And file this one under “Let’s Not And Say We Did,” OK? It looks like Hugo Chavez, during the course of an interview with Naomi Campbell, asked the supermodel to “touch his muscles” (no word yet on whether or not Chavez has been chastened by his recent electoral setback).

    Luckily he didn’t ask her to hand him the phone (ba-dump!).

  • And by the way, “Happy Birthday” Lynndie England (she’s actually due to get out of prison later this year, believe it or not – maybe she could get sent back to Iraq?).

  • "No Cred Fred" Looks For A Hand

    So with all of the electoral hoopla currently going on in New Hampshire on the Repug side with the media pronouncing John McCain the winner, Mitt Romney trying to outspend everyone, Ron Paul supporters declaring war on Faux News (yaay!), Mike Huckabee wondering if cranky New Englanders care about the opinion of Midwest fundies (and Rudy! off to Florida? Wha??), there is one question lurking somewhere in my mind, and America deserves an answer.

    Where exactly is Grandpa Fred anyway? Did he get lost, or just wake up too late from his nap?

    Well, Christine Bynum of ABC News has the answer here; it turns out that he’s in South Carolina already.

    Why (aside from the fact that he has no shot of winning up north)…

    "Everyone is in New Hampshire … [we're] not playing up there," Thompson told a crowd of about 100 people at a diner in Greenville, S.C. "Still got snow banks six feet high there and we're down here in South Carolina, so I ask you who’s the smartest one?"
    Dude, you’re not going to have a shot at the Granite State’s electoral votes admiring the beauty of the jessamines, OK?

    And just for good measure, Fred tosses in a hosanna to Strom Thurmond. How nice.

    At his morning event, he played up his Southern roots, joking "people can understand what I'm saying down here."
    I guess they’re also still fighting the Soviet Union in South Carolina, then? And they don’t know whether their state rag flag is posted in a public place or not?

    Of course, this is all about a man who seemed to grow bored both with being a blogger (too funny) and a corporate lobbyist (here).

    The thought of Fred Thompson as president is more laughable than frightening, but it’s truly scary for me to contemplate the alleged life forms who would actually vote for him.

    Glenn Greenwald Explains Everything

    More concisely and with better statistics, I might add...

    Edwards -- who, just one week ago, was 10 points behind Obama nationally among Democrats -- is now only two points behind him. Less than a month ago, he trailed Clinton by 29 points. Now it's 13 points. He is, by far, at his high point of support nationwide. Apparently, the more exposure Democratic voters get to Edwards and his campaign positions -- and that exposure has been at its high point during his surge -- the more they like him.
    (Hat tip to Avedon Carol at Eschaton for this)...

    Pro-Hypocrisy First, Pro-Life Second

    I should note that, as a Roman Catholic in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the language against abortion coming from our church back towards the congregation has grown more strident since about last Christmas. I mean, there have always been "general intercessions" on behalf of the unborn, and prayerful requests for respect towards all life, and that is as it should be.

    However, over the last few weeks, the Church has been offering as a prayer "an end to all legalized abortions." Not much "wiggle room" for misinterpretation, is there? And yes, I believe this is wrong for many reasons that have to do with highly personal medical decisions between a woman, her doctor, and her family and spiritual influence of sorts if she chooses to involve them in the matter.

    But given this more intrusive stance, I'll await the day that Pope Benny calls for withholding communion to presidential aspirant Rudy Giuliani the same way he did to John Kerry in 2004 here (though I'm not even sure a controversy like this could halt Rudy's slide in the polls - a related "goof" post is here).

    (And by the way, regarding prayer at church, how about some intentions to save our jobs and our health care, to say nothing of the climate crisis? How come those issues never "make the cut" on Sundays before the collection basket appears?).

    And speaking of abortion, here is information on a ridiculously self-indulgent new trend (I hope this is as big of a joke as the "Kerry Holy Observer" post, but I'm not sure - h/t Thers at Eschaton); also, Little Ricky did his Ebert and Roeper thing on this topic last Thursday here.

    Update 1/9/08: On topic, there is probably a lot more to be said about this story, but for now...

    Monday, January 07, 2008

    Monday Videos

    Back Door Slam ("Come Home" - nice)...

    ...Happy Birthday to Paul Revere of The Raiders ("Hungry" - another You Tube fan vid...oh, behave! Rock bands wearing historical military uniforms were big back then, by the way, including Gary Puckett and The Union Gap, though in my innocence at that time I never understood the appeal)...

    ...I missed the 45th birthday of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich last December 26th ("Nothing Else Matters" - no such thing as a bad time to hear Metallica)...

    ...and now, time for a bit of culture; Happy Birthday to virtuoso cellist Yo Yo Ma (here playing "Sayuri's Theme" from "Memoirs of a Geisha" accompanied by John Williams on piano - exquisite).

    Monday Political Stuff

    Kudos to the Ron Paul supporters for making Sean Hannity run from them (again, no shot on yours truly supporting the guy, but it's still cool to see Paul and his followers "rattling the Repug cages" like this; h/t to Scout Finch at The Daily Kos - don't know anyone else who has this at the moment besides Cliff Schecter here - Update: my bad)...

    ...and here's some food for thought for anyone currently fond of Mike Huckabee, from Max Blumenthal and Thomas Shomaker.

    General Nonsense On Iraq And The Media

    I should probably be more respectful towards Gen. Peter Pace, the former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but it’s difficult.

    I mean, even though he was punked by Robert Gates here (not renominated as Head of the Joint Chiefs to disallow the possibility of Congress asking him questions about Iraq – nice), he still managed to lose sympathy points with me based on the following excerpt from this New York Times article today…

    Just days earlier, in his valedictory address as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace used his final minutes as the nation’s highest-ranking officer to describe how his interactions with Congress and the news media had soured him on both.

    “In some instances right now we have individuals who are more interested in making somebody else look bad than they are in finding the right solution,” General Pace said.
    Gee, General, maybe we would take you more seriously had you not said here that your former boss, Defense Secretary Rummy, was “inspired by God” (and when it comes to making somebody else look bad, I think there are pretty good examples here from the occupant of An Oval Office, though I realize that it's much more difficult for you to assign blame where it's due than to merely set straw men afire instead).

    Dubya's "Voodoo Economics"

    (A term coined by his dad, let’s not forget, before he “saw the light”…).

    I’ll save you the trouble of trying to decipher these scribblings by Jeanne Sahadi of CNN about the supposedly grand plan from George W. Milhous Bush to save our ever-more moribund economy and summarize it as follows: Dubya’s answer, as always, is tax cuts and ever-more debt.

    (Another cringe-worthy columnist, Ed Henry, preaches for the umpteenth time here that, for Dubya’s “legacy,” he must compromise with Congress, which makes me wonder what planet this man is living on; at what point has Dubya ever compromised on anything?).

    And largely as a consequence of this stupidity, this story tells us that, for the first time in 100 years, British living standards have risen above those of Americans (somehow I don’t exactly feel like “raising a pint” over that one).

    Paul Krugman touched on all of this today here, and his blog contains posts from today and yesterday that basically support the fact that much of Europe has caught up with us economically; it also rebuts the myth that lower tax rates in this country contributed to economic growth (for anyone besides the investor class, I mean).

    A “Revival” For Edwards?

    This column about John Edwards written by Ezra Klein of The American Prospect is, quite simply, the best analysis of the Edwards campaign that I have read to date.

    Yes, to call Edwards the “Oprah” candidate could be slightly demeaning I think, but I also think it accurately describes the visceral level to which Edwards is trying to appeal to Democratic voters, something he must do to continue the momentum of a second-place Iowa finish (first would have been best, of course, and Obama is the justifiable frontrunner at the moment, but all of this could change one way or another in a short time).

    (By the way, Klein mentions Sandy Lakey in his column, and this notes that Edwards defended the Lakeys in their suit against Sta-Rite, the company that manufactured the defective pool drain that disemboweled the Lakeys’ young daughter Valerie.)

    As Klein so accurately notes…

    Where other campaigns routinely feature outside politicians and famed surrogates, Edwards is more likely to tour with the sort of guests you'd see on daytime talk: Ordinary people who have undergone extraordinary hardship. Where the other candidates closed their Iowa campaigns with sincere speeches laying out the arguments for their candidacies, Edwards ran a commercial where a burly Iowan spoke emotionally of the moment when Edwards leaned down, stared his seven-year-old son in the eyes, and promised to fight for his father's job.

    This irritates the Press Corps. It's schmaltzy and raw.
    Boy, does it ever. Witness this nonsense from the New York Times over the weekend…

    Mr. Edwards has a strong populist message, but it sounds a bit odd coming from a former tort lawyer and hedge fund executive who ran as a completely different person in 2004. One of his ads features an out-of-work Maytag employee who said Mr. Edwards promised his 7-year-old son: “I’m going to keep fighting for your daddy’s job.” We’re still waiting for Mr. Edwards to explain how he, or any politician, can turn back the tide of economics and globalization. We’d prefer if he explained how to make it work for all Americans.
    That's a particularly snotty and elitist observation given the gory job numbers from last month and the depressing economic forecast for this year (neither of which is the fault of the American workforce, as usual, but due to cyclical economics exacerbated by corporate greed and malfeasance).

    And Bob Herbert (who definitely should know better) pronounced the Edwards candidacy as “all but literally on its knees” here (and speaking of “the old gray lady,” it looks like their “new hire” had a problem today).

    With all of this in mind, here is a post from Prof. Marcus over the weekend that links to a fine analysis by Daily Kos diarist JedReport concerning the extend to which Edwards is covered (ignored?) in the media.

    I’m doing what I can to help Edwards finish no lower than second in New Hampshire, setting the stage for a must-win South Carolina primary. Will it work? Nobody knows. But I can tell you right now that our dear corporate media cousins, many of whom have names made of initials, will be just tickled to death if it doesn’t.

    And all I’m going to say concerning the Repugs and New Hampshire is that I’m going to laugh my ass off if somehow “Senator Honor And Virtue” loses, because you can’t go to the bathroom or wind your watch these days without someone predicting that he’s going to win.

    The “Okie Hold ‘Em” King

    While skimming through Parade Magazine yesterday, I noticed this article about a bill that “strongly urges” states that have not contacted the FBI about individuals diagnosed as “dangerously mentally ill” to do so. The Parade article noted that only 32 of 50 states contact the FBI about these people; the purpose is to try and prevent individuals such as Seung-Hui Choi – the coward who murdered 32 people at Virginia Tech; odd numerical symmetry, that – from ever perpetrating such deeds again.

    And why on earth would such a bill not be law by now (a gun bill even supported by the NRA, believe it or not)?

    The answer is Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who put a “hold” on the bill.

    And this is one of 95 holds that Coburn has on Senate bills.


    Are you as shocked by that as I am?

    This article in The Politico tells us the following (I try to be careful about sourcing from these people, but I think this is acceptable)…

    (Coburn) has also held up funding for research on breast cancer, watershed restoration, a bill to designate Bill Clinton’s birthplace a National Historic Site, a boundary modification for Grand Teton National Park, a bill against dogfighting and one naming a post office after environmental writer Rachel Carson, among scores of other bills large and small.

    Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)…still betrays some anger after being in Coburn’s cross hairs a few months back over an earmark that Nelson was pushing for a Nebraska company that employed his son. “What we found out was that the earmark [Coburn] was complaining about in Nebraska, his colleague had similar earmarks in Oklahoma that he had no problem with,” said Nelson.

    A Coburn aide said that the senator doesn’t have the time to go through every earmark, and he encourages others to challenge ones that he hasn’t specifically gone after. But Nelson’s and other senators’ problem with Coburn is more fundamental than a single earmark: They oppose his effort to drastically reduce earmarks.

    “That approach presumes that it is far better to have nameless, faceless bureaucrats deciding how money is spent in Washington rather than elected officials. The problems with earmarks have really not been about the earmarks themselves necessarily, but about eleventh-hour earmarks, no transparency and what have you. With transparency, earmarks are in general fundamentally fair,” said Nelson.
    It is truly rare for me to agree with Ben Nelson on much of anything, but I think he’s absolutely right here.

    And the Politico story notes that one of the bills held by Coburn is the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act sponsored by Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). As a result, funding for research, rehabilitation and other “quality of life” issues is being held up because of Coburn’s pique (more here; some truly hammerheaded comments to the Tulsa World story, by the way, though that paper, unlike the Inky, at least allows comments to their stories and editorials).

    And another infamous hold by Coburn is noted here concerning the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which was passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 422 to 2 (don't know if Joe Pitts was one of the "no" votes; wouldn't surprise me) and was scheduled to be passed by unanimous consent in the Senate (this is a hold that Harry Reid honored, unlike the one Chris Dodd placed on the flawed FISA bill).

    I don’t know what it says exactly about the Senate that a single individual is able to exercise so much power to satisfy his own narrow self interest, but at the very least, this should be cause to introduce legislation limiting the number of holds a Senator is allowed to place on legislation. Getting rid of secret holds was a good first step (here; the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 requires notification of the person placing a hold after 6 days, another accomplishment from the supposedly "do-nothing" 110th Congress), but because of Coburn’s antics, more obviously needs to be done.

    Any “Energy” To Run Against Patrick, PA Repugs?

    The following letter appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times on Saturday…

    We applaud the U.S. House and Senate for passing a much-needed energy bill, and we especially commend Congressman Patrick Murphy for his leadership on this forward-looking legislation.

    Most significantly, this new law increases fuel efficiency standards for automobiles to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, the first such increase in 32 years. As oil has reached $100 a barrel, this legislation will significantly reduce Americans' oil consumption, our dependence on imports, and will help combat global climate change. The bill also contains numerous measures to increase the efficiency of buildings, household appliances, electronics and light bulbs, all of which save consumers money on electricity bills.

    This bill is good for jobs, good for the economy, good for national security, good for consumers and good for our planet. We look forward to continuing to work with Murphy to make more progress on clean energy in 2008.

    Gene Karpinski, President
    League of Conservation Voters
    And as noted here, the bill was signed into law by President George W. Milhous Bush last month, though it kept in place tax credits for energy companies who most certainly don’t need them, and the bill falls short in development of clean, renewable sources of power (here). Still, it’s the first skirmish in a battle that will be fought over a changing political landscape in this country, I’m sure (for our betterment, if we go out and help to make that happen).

    Speaking of battles, I’m still hearing nothing about a potential Repug challenger to Patrick for his PA-08 U.S. House seat; Thomas Manion, Gene DiGirolamo and others – including Mikey Fitzpatrick, who appears to be in a hopeless quandary on the matter – have all refused to declare at this point.

    I’ll tell you what – in the interest of free and fair elections, I’ll try to help out Bucks Repug chairman Harry Fawkes on this; if anyone wants to run as a Repug against Patrick, just leave some information in a comment and I’ll pass it along to the head of the Bucks County GOP.

    My own personal choice here would be Jay Russell. After all, he’s got time on his hands from screwing up one election last year – why not try to do so again (or is he afraid to do so without the benefit of Jim Cawley’s “guidance”?).

    "The Only Honorable Course"

    I'll try to get back to the blogging thing for real today, and to begin, this was posted yesterday by Prof. Marcus, and I'll link to it here for anyone who missed it (h/t Atrios) - words to live by from former Sen. George McGovern.

    And in a related vein, here is the most recent "Pap Attack"...

    ...and John Flynn performs "Dover."

    Update 1: I forgot to note this earlier, but here's another way to accomplish this goal (for Cheney, anyway).

    Update 2: Careful what you wish for here, Dubya.