Thursday, August 10, 2006


Okay, I'm able to admit when I wrong. At least I guess BushCo doesn't believe they've overplayed it. And now I have to drink airline coffee. Is it just me or does anyone else think that if you've foiled a plot but your not sure you have apprehended everyone involved - that your chances of getting the others may be greater if they don't realize that you're already onto them?
Although plots to blow up airliners using liquid explosives are not new such an attempt was foiled more than a decade ago the U.S. government has been slow to upgrade its security equipment at airport checkpoints to detect explosives on passengers.

U.S. authorities did not say how long the security measures would last. "We are taking the step of preventing liquids from getting into the cabin to give us time to make adjustments," Chertoff said.[my emphasis]
Slow ... oh, I don't know, what's a decade or two. Chertoff, still a witless fuck like the rest of them. Don't you wish they'd just stop pissin' themselves (and trying to get us to do the same) and actually do something about Homeland Security?
Mothers tasted baby food in front of airport security guards to prove it contained no liquid explosives. Liquids and gels were banned from flights. Travelers repacked their luggage in airports, stowing all but the most necessary items in the hold. [my emphasis]
Really. Because if it were liquid explosive that would be sufficient for detonation? Either way what a fucking stupid thing to do. Well, with this red alert they've topped out - what's next? Passengers banned from all commercial flights? This is what we can expect from now 'til November. They're afraid the curtain's being pulled back far enough that the great and powerful Oz Rove will be exposed for the deceitful, vindictive, incompetent that he is - that their little the sky is fallin' and only we can take care of you gig is up.

T-shirts Anyone

Think we could raise any money for progressives with these T-shirts?

Lieberman: No Longer a Democrat, Still an Ass


Lieberman: Like Dennis Miller, Only Funny

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In Connecticut: A Victory of Sorts

Ned Lamont's primary victory tonight over Loserman in Connecticut is a definitive victory for democracy, whether it is also a Democratic victory will depend on what the sitting Dems do now.

Lieberman confirmed he is running as an Independent in November. If he wants to be independent, the Democratic party should let him; call or write Senator Reid and tell him that Joe Lieberman should be stripped of all of his committee assignments. From the moment he stepped on that stage and failed to concede the Democratic nomination, he ceased being a Democrat. My e-mail:
Senator Reid,

When Senator Lieberman took the stage tonight after his loss to Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Senate primary and confirmed his run as an Independent for the November general election, he relinquished his status as a Democrat. I respectfully submit, that as Minority Leader, you should move to strip Senator Lieberman of all of his committee assignments.



Monday, August 07, 2006

Antonin Doesn't Hunt Bugs

Poor Republicans, Antonin doesn't have their backs this time.
Texas Republicans on Monday abandoned their court fight to replace former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on the November ballot after being turned back at the Supreme Court.

The decision came after Justice Antonin Scalia rejected Texas Republicans' request to block an appeals court ruling saying DeLay's name should remain on the ballot.

I guess Tom didn't spend enough time in the duck blinds with Fat Tony. Of course, those wonderful Texans who gave us the likes of Dubya and Delay in the first place could still elect Delay as his name will remain on the November ballot unless he withdraws.

If I lived in the Sugarland district, this alone, would be enough for me to vote for Nick Lampson. But then something tells me I have little in common with people who would not only elect Tom Delay but return him to office nine times, the last time (2004) with 55% of the vote, then 62% of them voted for him this year in the Republican primary while he was under indictment for money laundering. Ah, the family values crowd.

How Did We Get To This Place

I rarely watch the news anymore but I happened to catch the ABC news the other night when they were reporting on the minimum wage bill coming up for a vote. Diane Sawyer was anchoring and asked the reporter (I don't recall which feminine specimen it was) what she thought the chances of it passing were or something to that effect. She stated it wasn't likely because another controversial bill had been tagged on to it. Another controversial bill, no mention what that might be, certainly not the fact that it included the Repugnicans neverending ploy to get rid of the estate tax.

Unfortunately, that's nothing compared to some of the print coverage. How about this article with the headline:
Democrats block Republican bid to raise minimum wage
Yeah, that's exactly what the issue was about, those benevolent Republicans just wanted to give the poor working stiffs a raise but the Democrats wouldn't let them.

And exactly when did it happen that an action considered vile, deplorable, depraved, egregious or any other comparable adjective could be viewed as clever:
For years, organized labor has worked hard to raise the minimum wage, while business groups have campaigned to block such a change. This week in the Senate, however, the AFL-CIO is pushing to kill the wage increase while practically the entire business lobby is demanding that it pass.

The reversal is the product of election-year politics and clever -- critics say devious -- legislative packaging that has been dubbed the "trifecta." In the same bill, senators are being asked to raise the minimum wage (the liberals' goal), cut the estate tax (the conservatives' objective) and approve a laundry list of popular, though *narrowly targeted, tax breaks.[my emphasis]
Boy, that was some memo I must have missed. *Translated that means target to the wealthiest Americans - that is a narrow grouping I suppose. Critics say devious? How the hell did we get here?

A race in Connecticut, Blackface, Bloggers and the Vulnerability of Congressional Candidates

It's been interesting to watch the unfolding of Connecticut's Democratic Senate primary that will come to a close as voters go to the polls tomorrow. It has been touted as anything from a bellwether on netroots and blogger influence in elections to a referendum on Bush and Iraq or nothing short of a fight for the soul of the Democratic party. I doubt I'm alone in thinking the latter was a fight lost long ago and that while the misadventure in Iraq, and Joe's support of it, likely factor significantly in primary opposition to Holy Joe and support for his opponent, Ned Lamont, it's not the whole story and bloggers, in the end, will have little impact on the outcome of this race.

The average Connecticut voter probably wasn't even aware of any blogger support enjoyed by Lamont until the brouhaha over an image (of Joe Lieberman in blackface) that accompanied a post by blogger Jane Hamsher. I'm not going to defend Jane's use of that graphic. Because its use was wrong or offensive? Not exactly, but I do think it was an incredibly stupid thing to do.

Allow me to digress a little here. Just a couple of years shy of thirty years ago, Mr. CJ and I took the Briggs-Meyer personality inventory as part of our pre-marital activities (turns out we were found to be totally incompatible and yet ...) and I still recall one of the questions for which our answers were polar opposites. It had something to do with the use sarcasm as a form of speech. Mr. CJ answered that sarcasm could be dispensed with while I thought it was too effective a form of communication to be tossed aside merely because someone could be hurt/offended. So, Mr. CJ's a nicer person than me - big deal, I concede. My point is, that as a general rule I believe that, like sarcasm, strong actions or images (like flag burning or blackface) can be effective precisely because of their widely recognized symbolism and, yes, their ability to offend. In this instance the responsible graphic artist, DarkBlack, believes similarly as he/she defends the imagery thusly:
As the composer of the work in question, allow me to make some broader points clearer. This will be my last word on the subject, but all are free to debate further, of course.

Lieberman has attempted to activate a voting demographic that his strategists believe will aid him in his quest.

To this end, he has imported a figure, Bill Clinton, who has standing with the American black community, and has repeatedly asserted his personal credentials as one who has worked on behalf of that community.

Yet Lieberman has engaged in race baiting (with the Lamont flyer) as a cynical attempt to game this demographic, and he has engaged in other activities which cast doubtful shadows upon this allegiance.

Thus, in my opinion, Lieberman is pretending to be something that he is not for personal gain, exactly like the vile caucasian minstrel show performers of Vaudeville.

And so my artist's impression stands.

If we as a people run from controversial imagery, we will never stop running. Better to unearth and deal with the unpleasant than to live in fear.
To DarkBlack I would say that I don't disagree with your take on Lieberman or how this artwork makes the point, however, I'm not sure that the post accompanying the graphic is making those points and politics ain't art.

But, back from my digression. It was an incredibly stupid thing to do because Ms. Hamsher is no political novice, and while she isn't a member of Lamont's campaign staff neither is she merely covering the campaign. She actively advocates for Mr. Lamont (as do others at Firedoglake) and to have not foreseen that Mr. Lamont's campaign would have to address that post is mindblowingly shocking for someone as politically savvy as Jane. Jane did pen an apology of sorts and, frankly, she didn't do anything that the rest of us haven't likely done -which is to let our passion about something get the best of us at times. But, ironically, depending on how this has played out in the Connecticut media, her advocacy for Mr. Lamont could have a negative impact on his pursuit of that senate seat.

Certainly high traffic blogs like Firedoglake have expanded interest in this race beyond Connecticut and that has also added to the Lamont coffers through donation sites such as ActBlue but most of these people can't vote in Connecticut. So it is, as ever, the local political activists (some of whom may also blog and may be making use of the internet as an organizing tool for their donation and GOTV efforts) and the voters who will decide this contest with, while certainly not negligible, little impact from bloggers.

So, Why Joe Lieberman? What makes him vulnerable? The New York Times got it partially correct in their endorsement Lamont in which they disagree with Joe's assertion the this is a fight over the soul of the Democratic party and that (in Joe's view) it's a shame that you have to agree 100% or be tossed out - that is far from the issue. While I disagree with their position that were it not for Iraq this primary would not have happened it is true that:
At this moment, with a Republican president intent on drastically expanding his powers with the support of the Republican House and Senate, it is critical that the minority party serve as a responsible, but vigorous, watchdog. That does not require shrillness or absolutism. But this is no time for a man with Mr. Lieberman’s ability to command Republicans’ attention to become their enabler, and embrace a role as the president’s defender.
But it's more than that. It may not be about the soul of the Democratic party but it may have something to do with the soul of the democratic process. I think it has a lot more to do with this than it does with Joe's stance on the Iraq war. His stance on Iraq is just another symptom of the larger disease that is stagnant incumbency. The voter, you know, the majority, those who don't make over $100,000 a year and are just one medical disaster away from bankruptcy they can no long declare, those people. You see, they keep expecting someone to stand up for them and yes, part of that is wanting their representatives to demand some fucking evidence before sending their kids off to fight an unwarranted, ill-advised war.

Congressional approval ratings may be at a 12-year low but they didn't get there overnight. Voters of every political stripe have had it and they feel powerless to do much about it. And, by the way, what's this shit about this race meaning so much more because Lieberman is not just any Democrat but he was our Vice-Presidential nominee in 2000 - yeah, because the Democratic voter had a say in that. Hell, as it is, we don't even get to choose our presidential nominee, they're selected by the D.C. establishment and confirmed by a vast minority of voters in the early primary states. Increasingly our only viable candidates for any office will necessarily, like Lamont, be millionaires.

I think it's telling that in this interview, when asked if he's out of touch with the Connecticut voters, Joe responds that he goes back there (Connecticut) and proceeds to talk about the various organizational endorsements he's garnered; never once does he mention the voters. And you've got to love this quote from Lieberman in an article about his latest efforts to denounce his Bushness:
"Joseph had faith that God will take care of the haters and I have a certain faith that this Tuesday God will take care of the voters.”
Just like Bush, God is on his side. I wonder - is it the same God? Pssst, Joe. It's the arrogance, stupid.

When Clinton ran in '92 he had this hokey little video entitled A Place Called Hope, and that is what this election is about. The voters (at least those who haven't been lost to apathy) still hope someone will appear on the horizon to represent them, they already know those currently on the hill aren't doing so. And that's why Joe Lieberman is in trouble. People are tired of not being represented and Ned provides a viable alternative ... potential ... a chance ... hope.

Addendum: No matter the polls maybe there's hope for Holy Joe after all - as Billmon says, he is a Man for All Seasons. Adam has more from the Book of Lieberman.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

GOP Selects Lieberman to Replace Harris

With Holy Joe's support waning and his decision to run in the general election as an Independent Democrat (if necessary for the good of the Connecticut constituency) being seen in a less than favorable light and the fact that I said the vote is certified Katherine Harris doesn't have a chance in hell Florida - Joe and the GOP have come to a meeting of the minds (it was a very short meeting).

Lieberman is to replace Harris as the GOP senatorial candidate in Florida. It's a win-win for the GOP - they get rid of one embarrassment and the other one isn't really a Republican if they need to disavow him. Joe should have a shot in Florida. He's sure to bring along the Willard Scott crowd and the Jewish vote - well at least they'll intend to vote for him.

A Dem Majority in '07 - Good News or ...

For many of us there aren't sufficient quantities of alcohol and/or drugs to numb us against the pain of our continuing national nightmare and all the parody and satire in the world can no longer provide either relief or laughter. All the more difficult for those of us amidst the cultural isolation of red america - so we tend not to read the news as much, decrease the frequency with which we check on our favorite blogs and our own posting is nonexistent or intermittent at best. It used to be that screaming at the top of your lungs or tapping your frustrations out on a keyboard could offer temporary relief, but for some time now the energy required to overcome the mental inertia that has set in seems to get lost between excited neuron and vocal cord or fingertip. Not so for Billmon who's on a blogging tear as of late.

Some have recently criticized him for this post. Personally, while I don't hope that the Republicans remain in power in either the house or senate, I also no longer believe the Democratic party holds anything for progressives. His argument is that if Democrats win a majority in either or both chambers the only thing that will ensure is that they will be accorded the blame regardless of the reality and it will have no effect on this administration or the havoc it will continue to reek. He's correct -for progressives the outcome doesn't matter. We've already lost.

That said, I think it's still important to replace incumbents like Lieberman - our only hope is in doing so. In this two-party system of ours (or one and a half party as Billmon states) we may be relegated to supporting Democrats but we should end the entitlement of incumbency and whenever possible remove those who least represent us.