Thursday, January 31, 2008

The sound of settling

If you listen closely, you can actually hear Neville Chamberlain Harry Reid capitulate.

Why on earth with the Republicans ever agree to anything the Democrats wanted to do? Appeasement seems to be all Reid knows.

Via the NYTs
“I can give you their own speech on unemployment compensation, on food stamps,” the majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, said of his numerous conversations with the administration. “They don’t believe in them, O.K.? So there was no way to agree when they don’t believe that food stamps are important, when they believe that if you extend unemployment benefits it only keeps people from looking for a job, which is a little hard to comprehend. So the answer is, we tried to work something out with them and we weren’t able to do that.”

The Spoiler

With all the talk the last week of Bill Clinton's rain on his wife's campaign, Joe Klein (I am not a fan) brings the conversation back to earth.

The truth is, there is just on one like him.
"There may be a better salesman than I am," Bill Clinton said, smiled, then paused as chuckles rippled through the audience. A better salesman? On what planet? This was classic, postpresidential Clinton, able to riff on his well-earned reputation as a mythic slinger of bullpucky. I should add that the topic in question was nuclear nonproliferation. He had the audience hanging on his every word about ... nuclear nonproliferation. The Bush Administration wanted to develop two new nuclear weapons, he said, while it was trying to persuade the Iranians to stop enriching uranium. "There may be a better salesman than I am," he said, "but that's a tough sale. We're telling the Iranians, 'You can't have any of something we want two more of.'"

His voice was hoarse. His cheeks were splotched with wine-red daubs of what looked like clown rouge. He seemed a bit disheveled, wearing a light gray-green suit and a garish yellow tie, a costume more fitting for a used-car salesman than a former President. An aide told me that Clinton had pulled a Clinton the night before. Unwilling to stop campaigning after his last event, he had gone to the cafeteria at the University of South Carolina. About 15 kids were there, and they started texting their friends. Pretty soon several hundred kids had gathered, and Clinton held forth for two hours, answering their questions.
But Joe raises an important question,
If she is elected, who exactly will be President? What happens when there is a real crisis? My guess is, she'd be able to handle almost anything ... except him. I could easily see him jumping the shark, sending mixed messages when a single voice of authority is crucial—especially if the crisis involves one of his specialties, like the Middle East
It is a concern although it's not as much a concern as having a bunch of trigger happy kooks running foreign policy who are very comfortable with 100 years in Iraq.

Will Gore Endorse?

There is a lot of buzz in the blog world wondering, waiting for Gore to endorse someone, with the unspoken hope it seems that the someone be Obama.

It's hard for me to imagine Gore endorsing the Clintons opponents after being their vp in the fist go-round for 8 years.

On the other hand, his not endorsing them seems to be interesting.

Transportation Workers Union moves to Obama

From The Caucus
The Transport Workers Union, which represents 140,000 active workers, is expected announce Friday that it will become the first union that had backed John Edwards to switch its endorsement to Barack Obama, one union adviser said Thursday night. The union, which endorsed Mr. Edwards, last September represents transit workers in New York City, flight attendants at Southwest Airlines and ground crew for American Airlines.

The Transport Workers Union is especially strong in New York State because the union’s New York City branch, Local 100, with more than 30,000 members, is one of the city’s largest and most vocal unions. The union, which is based in Manhattan also claims 60,000 retirees nationwide as members.
It's interesting that such a NY centric union didn't back the Clintons from the start. Given that they snubbed them for Edwards, it's not surprising that they now go to Obama.

If Obama were to carry NYC, the news coverage would be huge.

Obama is coming to St. Louis

You're Invited

Please join Barack Obama at a 'Stand for Change' Rally in St. Louis, where he'll talk about his vision for bringing America together and bringing about the kind of change we can believe in.

Stand for Change Rally with Barack Obama

Edward Jones Dome
701 Convention Plz.
St. Louis, MO

Saturday, February 2
Doors open: 7:00 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required but an RSVP is strongly encouraged, so sign up now:


For security reasons, bags are not allowed inside the event. Please limit personal items. No signs or banners are permitted.

If you cannot make it to this event but would like to support our campaign, please make a donation now:


Volcker Endorses Obama

Jimmy Carter's and Ronald Reagan's Fed Chairman, Paul Volker is endorsing Barack Obama.

Volcker is the guy who finally broke the back of the spiraling inflation of the 70's and early 80's by hunkering down and pushing up interest rates sky high until the inflation broke, and it's never been back.

From the WSJ,
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker is the latest big-name endorsement for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, lending his gravitas in the financial world to a presidential candidate whose biggest hurdle is to convince voters he is experienced enough to be president

“After 30 years in government, serving under five Presidents of both parties and chairing two non-partisan commissions on the Public Service, I have been reluctant to engage in political campaigns. The time has come to overcome that reluctance,” Mr. Volcker said in a statement today. “However, it is not the current turmoil in markets or the economic uncertainties that have impelled my decision. Rather, it is the breadth and depth of challenges that face our nation at home and abroad. Those challenges demand a new leadership and a fresh approach.”

He concluded: “It is only Barack Obama, in his person, in his ideas, in his ability to understand and to articulate both our needs and our hopes that provide the potential for strong and fresh leadership. That leadership must begin here in America but it can also restore needed confidence in our vision, our strength, and our purposes right around the world.”

They really hate McCain

The Conservative nut-jobs really hate McCain.

Michelle tells Glenn Beck: I won’t vote for McCain over Hillary

$32 Million in January!

Greg Sargent reports that the Obama campaign has confirmed raising $32 Million in January.

As Greg aptly points out, that is an astonishing figure.

UPDATE: TheNYTs has the details. 170,000 new donors. To put this in perspective, Obama's best QUARTER last year was $32 Million. This is a staggering sum.

No word on the Clintons fund raising but it's hard to imagine their figures could come close to this,.....which is likely why there no word.

Romney's not buying Uber Tuesday ads?

The AP via TPM
...Several officials said that on the heels of a defeat in Tuesday's Florida primary, Romney's campaign was not attempting to purchase television advertising time in any of the 21 states on the calendar for Feb. 5.

Instead, the former Massachusetts governor's current plans call for campaigning in California and other primary states, said the officials, who had knowledge of the internal discussions. There would be organizational efforts primarily for caucus states.
Lee Judge / The Kansas City Star

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm not holding my breath, but....

The new Rasmussen poll has Obama moving within three points of the Clintons in California.

The Rasmussen poll in Mass shows Obama within 6 points of the Clintons, 43%/37%, following Teddy's endorsement. There is no previous Rasmussen poll to compare but a SurveyUSA poll from last week, pre Teddy and Caroline had the Clintons ahead by 37 points.


Geopolitical cooties

Matt makes a good point. Any Democrat is better than these kooks.

Even if Presidents Clinton or President Obama doesn't govern as my fantasy President, there will be no more of this absurdity.

The Clintons new found love of FLA voters

Ezra calls out the Clintons on their new-found love of the Florida voters by reminding us of what their campaign said when MI and FLA had their delegates stripped,
Clinton's campaign manager backing the DNC, said, "We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process, and we believe the DNC's rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role."

Senate stimulus showdown

The Senate based a much more generous stimulus bill today that would extend unemployment benefits and increase the number of people who get stimulus check by including higher earners ($150k / $300k).

Mitch McConnell has threatened a filibuster but Republican finance committee members Grassley, Snowe and Gordon Smith all support the bill.

I'm sure Harry Reid will do all he can to facilitate the filibuster since it will not include Democrats.

Rats fleeing a sinking ship

The New York Times takes a look at Republican retirements from the House.

Today, 28 Republicans are retiring (A record!) compared to 5 Dems. Worse still, the DCCC has $35 Mil in the bank with $1.3Mil in debt. The GOP committee has $5 mil in the bank, and owes $2mil. That's a $30plus million dollar advantage coming into the year.

The story is similar in the Senate where Republican finances are so bad for the GOP Senate campaign committee refused to say how much money they had. To date, the Republicans have 23 Senate seats to defend (5 from retirements) with the Dems defending 11 and zero retirements.

A 60 seat Democratic senate is not beyond possibility.

Hannity chased by an angry mob

I didn't see this at the time.

You might recall that Fox has done everything possible to de-rail the anti-war Republican Ron Paul, even refusing to allow him to participate in the Fox News sponsored New Hampshire debate.

Well, the night of the debate YouTube - Sean Hannity was chased by an angry mob of Paul supporters.

Watch it:

Limbaugh: "The Base Has Fractured"

Via the NY Sun,
"Senator McCain has been able to cobble together enough votes to win in a few states. Fine. He deserves credit for that. But to pretend that Senator McCain is the choice of conservatives when exit poll data from every primary state show just the opposite--he is not the choice of conservatives as opposed to the Republican establishment, and that distinction is key," the conservative talker said. "The Republican establishment, which has long sought to rid the party of conservative influence since Reagan, is feeling a victory today as well as our friends in the media, but both are just far-fetched and wrong."

Mr. Limbaugh warned the mainstream press not to interpret Tuesday's results as the demise of the Reagan movement. " The Reagan coalition is not breaking up," he said defensively. "The Reagan coalition is going in different directions because there isn't anybody from the Reagan coalition in the Republican roster of nominees.....Those of us in the Reagan coalition have not lost anything."
Republican leaders have created an anti-intellectual, anti-science monster they can't control, and all just to lower taxes on the very wealthy and shift Federal dollars into Corporate welfare subsidies. I'm glad to see them stewing in it.

Republicans eat their own

This anti-McCain ad is, as Kevin Drum says, "so Republican." Nasty, spiteful and with good production values.

Gallup Daily Tracking Poll


Josh has called attention to Gallup Daily Tracking Poll which is showing Obama rising. Note that 10 days ago, the Clintons had a 20 point lead.

Edwards could really impact the race if he endorsed Obama. The Clintons don't need his support as much as they need to deny that support to Obama.

Fun, fun, fun.

Richard Crowson
/ Wichita Eagle

No endorsement "for the moment"

Greg Sargent,
An Edwards adviser confirms to me that John Edwards won't be making any endorsement "for the moment."

However, this source refused to rule out the possibility of an endorsement before Feb. 5th, which is six days away. If Edwards were to throw his support to either Hillary or Obama before that date, the impact could obviously be huge.
Any endorsement before Uber Tuesday would need to be very soon, tomorrow.

I find it hard to believe Edwards would endorse the Clintons but that's probably mostly based upon what I want to believe.

McCain Huckabee O8?

would be my guess, and a pretty scary ticket against the Clintons.

Just watch how McCain and Huckabee gush over each other.

Edwards out

According to the AP.

He will make his announcement today during his poverty speech in NOLA at Noon CST.

According to the AP, no immediate endorsement.

Now seems like an odd time. Was he waiting to see if he did well on zero delegate FLA? Did he just now realize he doesn't have the money to compete on Uber Tuesday?

I'm sure the Clintons and Obama have been burning up the phone lines hoping for an endorsement.


AP and CBS news are reporting that Edwards will drop out of the race today at 1 PM Eastern Time.

Two gone in one day McCain and Edwards. Now it gets very interesting.

Any bets on how soon Huckabee drops out?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Starting to look like McCain

NBC Political Director Chuck Todd has just explained the math and it really looks like McCain will be the GOP nominee.

Unlike the Democrats who apportion the delegates from each state based upon vote totals, many or most Republicans states are winner take all. And the winner take all math looks really good for McCain with Romney and Huckebee splitting the vote.

Obama in FLA

Russert just said that Hillary's win in FLA was based upon absentee votes cast a month ago, and that when only looking at votes cast this month, Obama won.

If Russert's statement is accurate, that will be much discussed by the talking heads going forward as proof of Obama momentum. Of course, it's mostly acedemic given that no delegates were at stake today.

New York Times Merciless

For Giuliani, a Dizzying Free-Fall

Rudy to endorse McCain

Mark Halperin is reporting that Rudy will endorse McCain tomorrow in Los Angeles.

Obama: 'El nos entiende'

Potemkin village

Hillary holds a lame ass 'victory celebration' for winning zero delegates in Florida.

Oprah to join Obama in Calif.?

Oprah to join Obama in Calif.? - First Read -

Romney goes for broke!

Check out the new ad.

Myth, my a..!

It's 15 degrees in Kansas City and 70 degrees here in St. Louis, where we are simultaneously under a tornado warner and arctic storm warning.

Last Thursday it was 5 degrees, and this Thursday it may be 5 again.

Don't tell me climate change is a myth.

UPDATE: 3:13 PM CST. It's now 31 degrees with sleet falling.

The price of arrogance

It's not just Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. Absurd policies like insisting on an anti-missile base in Europe providing missiles that don't work to defend against an enemy that doesn't exist to the fury of the Russians have real world fall-out.

In a lengthy NYTs Sunday Magazine article, Parag Khanna explains the real costs to the United States for 8 years of global bullying at a time when we should have been cementing our leadership.
It is 2016, and the Hillary Clinton or John McCain or Barack Obama administration is nearing the end of its second term. America has pulled out of Iraq but has about 20,000 troops in the independent state of Kurdistan, as well as warships anchored at Bahrain and an Air Force presence in Qatar. Afghanistan is stable; Iran is nuclear. China has absorbed Taiwan and is steadily increasing its naval presence around the Pacific Rim and, from the Pakistani port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea. The European Union has expanded to well over 30 members and has secure oil and gas flows from North Africa, Russia and the Caspian Sea, as well as substantial nuclear energy. America’s standing in the world remains in steady decline.

Why? Weren’t we supposed to reconnect with the United Nations and reaffirm to the world that America can, and should, lead it to collective security and prosperity? Indeed, improvements to America’s image may or may not occur, but either way, they mean little. Condoleezza Rice has said America has no “permanent enemies,” but it has no permanent friends either. Many saw the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as the symbols of a global American imperialism; in fact, they were signs of imperial overstretch. Every expenditure has weakened America’s armed forces, and each assertion of power has awakened resistance in the form of terrorist networks, insurgent groups and “asymmetric” weapons like suicide bombers. America’s unipolar moment has inspired diplomatic and financial countermovements to block American bullying and construct an alternate world order. That new global order has arrived, and there is precious little Clinton or McCain or Obama could do to resist its growth. Read the rest.
As we struggle with a Cold War era mentality on foreign relations and get bogged down in wars in the Middle East, China and the EU are building global economic empires.

The failure of leadership is staggering as the world literally moves into the 21st century with out the United States.

You must read this article.

Pell Grants for Kids?

Bush called for Pell Grants for kids to attend 'faith-based' schools.

Kevin Explains.

McCain's Supreme Court picks

John McCain says he's going to let Sam Brownback pick his Supreme Court judges.

Brad Plumer's not surprised,
The idea that McCain would let Sam Brownback do the honors of picking John Paul Stevens's replacement is terrifying, but not unexpected. People like Jacob Weisberg have occasionally suggested that, despite McCain's zero rating from NARAL and his vote to confirm Robert Bork in 1987, the man really has moderate views on, say, abortion and gay rights and wouldn't actually elevate Janice Rogers Brown to the Supreme Court. But, no. Even if McCain is a social moderate deep down inside (and I doubt it), the chance that he'll buck Brownback and friends on judicial nominees has always been unlikely. There's more.

A dozen suggestions for Obama

Courtesy of Tom Schaller at Tapped.

National Greatness Conservatism

Will Wilkinson is a libertarian writer from Cato.

In an excellent post written in response to the some vacuous crap at the Weekly Standard, Will succinctly says what I've struggled to put into words for so long.
I am more and more coming to the conclusion that National Greatness Conservatism, like all quasi-fascist movements, is based on a weird romantic teenager’s fantasies about what it means to be a grown up. The fundamental moral decency of liberal individualism seems, to the unserious mind that thinks itself serious, completely insipid next to very exciting big boy ideas about shared struggle, sacrifice, duty, glory, virtue, and (most of all) power. And reading Aristotle in Greek.

I sometimes think that liberal individualism is something like the intellectual and moral equivalent of the best modernist design — spare, elegant, functional — but hard to grasp or truly appreciate without a cultivated sense of style, without a little discerning maturity. National Greatness Conservatism is like a grotesque wood-paneled den stuffed with animal heads, mounted swords, garish carpets, and a giant roaring fire. Only the most vulgar tuck in next to that fire, light a fat cigar, and think they’ve really got it all figured out. But I’m afraid that’s pretty much the kind of thing you get at the Committee on Social Thought. If you declaim the importance of virtue loudly enough, you don’t have to actually think.
EXACTLY! Isn't it perfect? I feel like my work here is done.

HT to Andrew.

FISA Update

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's attempt to cut off all amendments and end debate on the White House FISA Telecomm immunity bill failed yesterday afternoon. So McConnell relented “and said he would offer a short-term extension of an anti-terror surveillance law, set to expire this week.” Harry Reid has sought such an extension.

President Bush issued a veto threat. Let's hope he does veto. Of course, as Bush's humble and obedient servant, Reid will do all in his power to deliver for the White House.

Obama loving Republicans

David Brooks gets swept away but Matt's not buying it.
I don't at all adhere to the school of thought that says "if Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks like Barack Obama, he must be evil." That said, I do think it's clear reading things like this doozy from Brooks today that one important driving force behind the sophisticated right's praise of Obama is a simple belief that he'll probably lose in the end. Then, when Clinton is nominated, having praised Obama to the skies they can lament that once again -- sigh -- the Democratic Party has let them down and they have no choice but to vote for the Republicans. The effort here is to somehow bracket the Bush years as just some kind of goofy one-off that we can forget about and remember that the real issue -- as it so often seems to be here in Washington -- is Bill Clinton's sex life. Or something.

Clinton and Obama at the SOTU

SOTU war mongering:

Clinton and Obama’s divergent views on the troop surge in Iraq, however, were plainly visible.

When Bush proclaimed, “Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among terrorists there is no doubt,” Clinton sprang to her feet in applause but Obama remained firmly seated. The president’s line divided most of the Democratic audience, with nearly half standing to applaud and the other half sitting in stony silence.

really says it all.

Obama responds

Monday, January 28, 2008

Long night

Tomorrow night will be a long night in Florida. Like Michigan, the DNC stripped FLA of its delegates for moving the primary up. The GOP will allow half the delegates so it's game on for the Republicans.

These polls are crazy to the point of absurdity. Here are the final polls:
  • Jan 28 ARG
    Romney 34%, McCain 32%, Huckabee 12% ...
  • Jan 28 SurveyUSA
    McCain 32%, Romney 31%, Giuliani 15% ...
  • Jan 28 PPP (D)
    Romney 35%, McCain 28%, Huckabee 13% ...
  • Jan 28 SurveyUSA
    Romney 32%, McCain 31%, Giuliani 16% ...
  • McCain 30%, Romney 27%, Giuliani 13% ...
  • Jan 28 Quinnipiac
    McCain 32%, Romney 31%, Giuliani 14% ...
  • Jan 28 Rasmussen
    Romney 31%, McCain 31%, Giuliani 16% ...
  • Jan 28 Zogby
    McCain 33%, Romney 30%, Giuliani 14% ...
  • McCain 27%, Romney 26%, Giuliani 17% ...
  • Romney 25%, McCain 25%, Huckabee 17%, Giuliani 17% ...
No network will call this race early. If I had to bet, I'd say McCain by 1 point based solely upon the Governor's endorsement.

What time will Rudy drop out of the race all together? I'll say 9:15 EST.

Steve Novick

Steve Novick is running for Senate in Oregon as a Democrat.

Watch his ad,

Learn more here.

Could Obama carry New York City?

There's an interesting piece in the New York Sun today,
Although a statewide win in New York appears unlikely for Senator Obama, he could score a symbolic victory in the February 5 presidential primary by carrying New York City, where recent polls show him to be competitive.

At a rally yesterday in front of City Hall, elected officials and labor leaders pledged their support for the Illinois senator and promised a hard-fought campaign on Senator Clinton's home turf. State senators Bill Perkins, John Sampson, Kevin Parker, and Eric Adams; Assembly members Hakeem Jeffries and Karim Camara, and Council Member Albert Vann rallied for Mr. Obama, as did a former congressman, Major Owens, and two former council members, Ronnie Eldridge and Wendell Foster.
There's more.

I'm skeptical. They love Hillary in New York. But wow, how embarrassing. Just imagine the press coverage.

Teddy get's a dig

"We know the true record of Barack Obama. There is the courage he showed when so many others were silent or simply went along. From the beginning, he opposed the war in Iraq.

And let no one deny that truth!"

Watch it:

Teddy understands where we stand as a Nation:
There was another time, when another young candidate was running for president and challenged America to cross a new frontier. He faced public criticism from the preceding Democratic president who was widely respected in the party. Harry Truman said we needed someone with greater experience and added "may I urge you to be patient." And John Kennedy replied, "the world is changing. The old ways will not do. It's time for a new generation of leadership."

Why Teddy's endorsement should matter

Matt explains exactly why Ted Kennedy's endorsement should matter to every Democrat.

Teddy has his faults, but his steadfast liberal leadership spans decades and is beyond reproach.

Teddy couldn't care less how unpopular his view might be. Case in point: Following the Iraqi elections in 2005, many Democrats were running for cover and "Hillary Clinton was repeating George W. Bush's lines" Teddy rose to deliver this speech:
We must learn from our mistakes. We must recognize what a large and growing number of Iraqis now believe. The war in Iraq has become a war against the American occupation. We have reached the point that a prolonged American military presence in Iraq is no longer productive for either Iraq or the United States. The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution. We need a serious course correction, and we need it now. We must make it for the American soldiers who are paying with their lives.We must make it for the American people who cannot afford to spend our resources and national prestige protracting the war in the wrong way. We must make it for the sake of the Iraqi people who yearn for a country that is not a permanent battlefield and for a future free from permanent occupation. The elections in Iraq this weekend provide an opportunity for a fresh and honest approach.
That my friends is called leadership, which is in tragically short supply on both sides of the aisle.


Without question, Bill's role in Hillary's campaign has changed dramatically, and increasingly we are seeing "Billary" used to describe the dynamic duo.

NYTs columnist Frank Rich joined the fray in yesterday's column. Rich thinks Billary is the only hope for the Republicans to hold the White House in November.
Up until this moment, Hillary has successfully deflected rough questions about Bill by saying, “I’m running on my own” or, as she snapped at Barack Obama in the last debate, “Well, I’m here; he’s not.” This sleight of hand became officially inoperative once her husband became a co-candidate, even to the point of taking over entirely when she vacated South Carolina last week. With “two for the price of one” back as the unabashed modus operandi, both Clintons are in play.

For the Republicans, that means not just a double dose of the one steroid, Clinton hatred, that might yet restore their party’s unity but also two fat targets. Mrs. Clinton repeatedly talks of how she’s been “vetted” and that “there are no surprises” left to be mined by her opponents. On the “Today” show Friday, she joked that the Republican attacks “are just so old.” So far. Now that Mr. Clinton is ubiquitous, not only is his past back on the table but his post-presidency must be vetted as well. To get a taste of what surprises may be in store, you need merely revisit the Bill Clinton questions that Hillary Clinton has avoided to date.
Rich outlines some of those questions in his column.

According to a NYTs story today, the Clinton campaign has started to become concerned about the heavy-handed role Bill has been playing. They want to move him "back into the sunnier, supportive-spouse role". I'm not holding my breath.
But Democrats said it was not clear whether the effects of Mr. Clinton’s high profile could be brushed away by having him modulate his campaign style. They said Mr. Clinton had upset some of the central themes of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, including her appeal to women and her assertions that her time in the White House during the 1990s amounted to vital experience rather than a link to a presidency defined as much by scandal and partisan divisions as by its successes on fronts like the economy.

Despite Mrs. Clinton’s months-long efforts to build a base of support among women, Clinton advisers said they were concerned that her husband’s recent prominence may have dampened her appeal as a strong female leader. Some advisers said they feared as much after Mr. Obama won 54 percent of the vote from women in South Carolina, including 22 percent of white women and 78 percent of black women, according to polls.
I think the jury is still out of Bill's effects, good or bad. Yes, he has offended Democratic insiders, political junkies and bloggers, me included. But I'm not so sure actual voters care much. He is still a huge draw on the campaign trial and when he speaks, people listen.

I've always been told, any publicity is good publicity, and until I see an actual down-turn in Hillary votes outside South Carolina, I will believe he is at worse a nil.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Surge™ was a failure

I need to post this because it seems to be lost on so many people.

The unambitious goal of the so-called Surge™ was to dampen violence in and around Baghdad long enough to allow for political reconciliation between the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. The surge failed to bring about this reconciliation. Thus the Surge™ failed.

It's really that simple. Surge™ supporters who argue that the Surge™ was somehow successful merely because it dampened violence are being willfully dishonest.

To suggest that simple because the Surge™ didn't achieve it's goal doesn't mean it wasn't successful, is like arguing that simple because the firemen didn't put out the fire, doesn't mean there weren't successful.

If the goal of the Surge™ were merely to dampen violence for violence sake, than the Surge™ would have been pointless, since violence would increase as the surge wained, proving that troop levels were far too few to every maintain order and making the case for a massively larger troop presence throughout Iraq for the indefinite future. Of course we don't have those troops which is why we had to settle for the Surge™.

In the spirit of Super Bowl Week, think of it this way: the Surge™ was a hail Mary that was dropped by the receiver.

What about the decrease in violence aimed at US military from Sunni militias, you ask? Well, that's because we are paying about 75,000 Sunnis $300 a month not to shoot us and arming them to shoot Al Qaeda instead. And that really is the subject of another post.

Amazing restraint

Barack Obama has shown amazing restraint attempting to in responding to relentless Clinton attacks.

Obama went to great lengths on "This Week" to defuse Bill's suggestion that Obama is the new Jesse Jackson.

Of course, there is a pragmatic reason for Obama to keep blowing out the race fuse, and that's to prevent further escalation which is exactly what the Clintons want. If Obama had taken the bait this morning on "This Week" it would have made every headline and lead every news cast. He can't let that happen.

You will know when Obama has had enough and decided to go nuclear when he says, "I can't imagine that those two would have enough nerve to question anyone's ethics. I still have my law license."

Teddy's pull with Latino voters

Everything I've read on the value of Teddy's endorsement of Obama hits hard on Teddy's alleged pull with Latino voters. Mark Halperin says this is the number one advantage.

I ain't buying it. This is the kind of insular thinking that happens when one spends too much time in Washington.

I refuse to believe that New England aristocrat Ted "Sammy Souser" Kennedy could possible hold sway over some of our nations most recent immigrants (who have only the faintest idea of his families history in American politics). I don't care how supportive Kennedy is on Latino issues. I can believe Latino leaders revere and respect Teddy for all he's done on immigration issues, but the voter on the street? Please.

The endorsement of Latino leaders--who actually are Latin-- are the endorsements that matter.

Teddy's endorsement is big because of his history in the very traditional Democratic base of labor where Hillary has done well.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Post-Dispatch,
...Barack Obama is aware of yesterday, but he is about today and tomorrow and next year. In a strong field of Democratic presidential contenders, he offers the best hope of transforming the debate and moving on to what America can be in the 21st century.

...Already he has energized thousands of voters who had written off politics or never bothered to get involved. It's exciting to think of what that might mean.

...Comets don't come around that often. In January of 1961, Ann Dunham Obama was six weeks pregnant with Barack Obama Sr.'s child when President Kennedy said at his inauguration that "the torch has been passed to a new generation." It's that time again.

Bill tried to stop it

The Politico has the gory details of Teddy's decision to endorse Obama over Clinton.
....The former president also called Kennedy in a vain attempt to keep him out of the race, a source familiar with the conversation said.

During his two terms in the White House, President Clinton made repeated overtures to the Kennedy family. So the senator’s rejection of his wife is at least as embarrassing as her 28-point loss in the South Carolina primary on Saturday.
Isn't it interesting that so many of the heavy-hitters of the Senate are choosing Obama over Clinton? Clinton is a second term Senator and of course, they all know the former President. Perhaps that explains it......

"A President Like My Father"

Caroline Kennedy's OP-ED in today's NYTs,
...Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

Not Sure What to Do in This Election

With the primary just over 10 days away, I am not sure who will vote for -Clinton or Obama. I have been thinking about it for a couple of months and I really feel I could vote for either of them. My three sons, age 27, 25, and 22 are all Obama supporters. One of them even says he's not sure he could vote for Clinton if she wins the nomination. The other two say they would have to hold their nose and vote for her instead of a republican in November if needed.

Living in Chicago, all of the attention is focused on Obama. The problem I have with him is the same many other have with Hillary. I am afraid that people will not vote for him because he is black in the same way many won't vote for Hillary because she is Hillary. I am also concerned about the Resko issue. In today's Chicago Tribune, John Kass, a political columnist, lays out the issue of how Obama and his wife are connected to Resko in the purchase of their home and the lot next door. It is the lot next door that is the real issue. Resko purchased the lot right around the time Obama purchased his house. Then Resko fenced in the lot and gave access only to the Obama's through their property. There as no access from the street - only through Obama's side yard. Then one year later, he sold the lot to Obama at a loss. And the guy who did the fence was indicted and convicted for defrauding the City of Chicago with no bid contracts that included shoddy workmanship and materials. Go figure. Resko is going to trial soon and I am concerned that other sweet deals may pop up. Obama has already had to giver back money from Resko to his state and senate campaign funds. Looks like "change" for Obama does not include politics as usual in Illinois and Chicago.

Finally, while I know that Obama is overshadowed by the senior senator from Illinois, Durban, Obama has not done anything to impress me in the Senate. And his record in the Illinois house is not one to write home about.

I guess I'll make up my mind as we get closer to the primary. I could support either in the general election, but who I vote on Feb. 5 is still a toss up.

Jonathan Chait crosses the Rubicon

Writing in today's Los Angeles Times the liberal OP/Ed columnist notes,
Something strange happened the other day. All these different people -- friends, co-workers, relatives, people on a liberal e-mail list I read -- kept saying the same thing: They've suddenly developed a disdain for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I think we've reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons.

The sentiment seems to be concentrated among Barack Obama supporters. Going into the campaign, most of us liked Hillary Clinton just fine, but the fact that tens of millions of Americans are seized with irrational loathing for her suggested that she might not be a good Democratic nominee. But now that loathing seems a lot less irrational. We're not frothing Clinton haters like ... well, name pretty much any conservative. We just really wish they'd go away....
Exactly, but I noticed a little spittle on my mouth after Bill reminded us that former Reagan lover Obama is Jesse Jackson.

Teddy to endorse Obama

So says The Bost Globe. They should know.

This is another huge endorsement for Obama. It is interesting how many big Senate endorsements Obama is getting over their second term colleague, Hillary.

Obama for President

We have been in a long funk of division and bitter politics for decades, and the Nation has suffered.

I've never understood the bitterness and hatred that Hillary Clinton brings out of so many people. I've met Hillary Clinton, and found her to be likable and even charming. She understands policy better than anyone in this campaign. Joe Klein (not a big fan of either Clinton despite his insistence otherwise) claimed last year to have been speaking to a ranking general and asked him which of the current presidential candidates best understood the US Military to which the general responded, "You mean besides Hillary Clinton?" A self-hating democratic friend I spent a lot of time with in the 1990's -- we'll call him 'James' -- absolutely hated Hillary Clinton. I once asked James to tell me exactly what she had done or said that caused his vitriolic hatred of her. With a crazy look in his eyes, he began spouting absurd lies about outrageous statements he insisted Hillary had made, and insisted her book, "It Takes a Village" took the position that a family could only function without men. It was then that I realized that much of Hillary hatred was simply misogyny.

But fair or not, this hatred of Hillary is undeniable and wide spread. You literally hear it every day, everywhere you go, from all sorts of people. It's a national past-time to hate Hillary which we cannot deny. Democrats must acknowledge Hillary's enormous weakness and be prepared to suffer as a result. And I will admit, it has taken it's toll on me. While I have not supported Hillary for the nomination, I felt comfortable with the idea of her as nominee and POTUS and believed that in a one on one race, people would warm to her making her election in November a safe bet.

Not any more. Two things have happened to me in the last several weeks.

One, is Clinton fatigue. Watching the tone and tenor of the Clintons campaign out of Iowa as they ruthlessly scratch and claw to return to power has turned my stomach (most glaringly their depraved race baiting). Bill and Hillary Clinton will do anything and say anything to return to power. As I said last night, I am SO FUCKING TIRED of the Clintons! I spent 8 years defending Bill Clinton and to a lesser extent, Hillary( and my reward was the pardoning of Marc Rich). I do not want to go back in time to the 1990s with the country exchanging Bush hatred for Clinton hatred for 8 more years. We face numerious crises as a country including energy issues, global warming, a failed state in Iraq, and an economy failing under the extreme pressure of 8 years of mismanagements. Every move Hillary makes is always calculated and hedged to preserve her power whether it's the vote on Iraq, the Bankruptcy bill or Iran.

The United States cannot afford 8 more years of bitterness and vitriol. I'm sick of it!

Second, we have in Barack Obama a real opportunity to end decades of bitter partisanship. I am a very recent convert to Obama. I met Barack when he was running for the Illinois Senate in 2004. We were invited to the Obama fundraiser in Edwardsville. I told my friends on the way over "this Barak guy doesn't have a chance. Chicago is backing Danny Hynes and he's going to win". I had a one-on-one conversation with Obama that night as be bent over (he's tall and I'm not) to give me his full attention. Like a dope, I had nothing to say to that naive guy who thought he could beat Chicago. I didn't even have my picture taken with him! When Obama announced his presidential bid, I again sagely observed "Obama's is too young and getting in too late -- he will never be able to compete with Edwards and Clinton on fund raising." I've finally have learned my lesson.

Everywhere I go, Republican friends of mine (being a white male, I have many such friends) will invariable whisper, so as not to be heard, that they really like this Obama guy and could see themselves voting for him.

The United States is at the most precipitous time of my conscious life. The Middle East is burning and the GOP is suggesting adding gas to the fire. Hillary votes to fill the gas cans so she can hedge her bets looking forward to her 2012 re-election campaign.

Barack Obama offers a chance to re-write the electoral map and drive a stake in the heart of the Republican party and its current alignment around the politics of hate and fear (Obama out-polled both GOP frontrunners in South Carolina! Think about that!!!). The Republican party is on the wrong side of nearly every issue and has been for years. The Democrats failure to capitalize on the GOP's faults has been a failure of good leadership. As a reader of Andrews Sullivan's blog noted,
The problem is that establishment Democrats have been so traumatized by what occurred in the 1980s and 1990s that they simply don't recognized this opportunity for what it is - a Reagan-style realignment that could potentially shape politics and political discourse for the next generation. They're like shell-shocked soldiers who haven't recognized the enemy has stopped shooting and is retreating from the battlefield.
That realignment doesn't happen by replacing another Bush with another Clinton. Sending Hillary to the White House simple changes the lightening rod and give the GOP more reason to hate.

Make those hateful fear mongers run against a campaign of hope and renewal. Tell the world that America stands with them to confront terrorism, global warming and an oil shortage.

Just think about what is left of the Republican party if there nominee only caries a handful of the deep Southern states? Where do they go from there? We have a chance to make that happen, but we cannot look to the past.

Vote for Barack Obama in your states primary. We can and must make a change.

Obama's victory speech in South Carolina

Perhaps his best yet.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Race Baiting

Did ever you think you would live to see Bill Clinton race baiting?

Last week Obama was Reagan. Now he's Jesse Jackson. Listen for yourself.

I am SO FUCKING SICK of the Clintons!!!!

Obama's South Carolina win

As expected, Barack Obama won the South Carolina primary handily. The Clintons have shrewdly downplayed this win by not even giving a concession speech.

I was out tonight and did not get to See Obama's speech because it was so early, but from what I read, it was another magnificent performance. I'll post it here and soon as it pops up on Youtube.

But here is what I find stunning. As I was recently reminded, South Carolina is arguable the most conservative state in the Union (actually that would now be Louisiana post Katrina) and Obama just out-polled McCain and Huckabee combined receiving a total of 279, 723 votes. In last week's SC GOP primary, McCain and Huckabee (the top 2 finishers), got 147,283 and 132,440 votes respectively for a total of 279,723. Here's the data. In other words, Barack Obama just carried South Carolina!

The Democratic party has the opportunity to remake this country, and invariable they will not do it; choosing instead to nominate a lighting rod from the 1990s.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Dennis Kucinich has announced that he is dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president, and will focus on his own re-election bid to the House.

Was Dennis ever really in? I've never understood the point of his presidential runs, and wonder if they don't make money for him.

It's not over Uber Tuesday

The AP has done the math and concluded,
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton leads the race for delegates to the Democratic National Convention this summer. She has 236, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates, giving her a 100-delegate lead over Sen. Barack Obama.

There will be nearly 1,700 Democratic delegates at stake on Feb. 5, enough to put a candidate well on his or her way to the 2,025 needed to secure the nomination. But even if somehow either Clinton or Obama won every one of those delegates, it wouldn't be enough. And with two strong candidates, the delegates could be divided fairly evenly because the Democrats award their delegates proportionally — not winner-take- all.
They likewise conclude that it won't be over for the Republicans either.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Now Reid cracks down?

Brad Plumer reports that Reid has had enough of filibusters and had decided to crack down on his own party.

I'm speechless.

That's nice, but, uh... how come Chris Dodd of all people is the only senator who has to do a "real" filibuster? I don't recall Reid threatening to "be in here all night" when Republicans blocked the Webb amendment, or the habeas corpus bill, or the energy-bill provisions shifting tax breaks away from oil companies and toward renewables, or any of the other bills the GOP has been filibustering at an unprecedented rate, etc.
Call Senator Reid's office at 202-224-3542, tell them that you are a life-long Democrat and ask him to resign as Majority Leader for the good of the Nation and the party.

"Citizens United Not Timid"

This has to be a prank, or just a cheap marketing gimmick.

TPM reports that long-time GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone (who dates back to CREEP) is forming an 527 called "Citizens United Not Timid" to "educate the American Public about what Hillary Clinton really is".

If true, this is beyond 'over the top'. Stone says they will be selling T-shirts, etc. which I'm guessing will generate a fortune with a certain group of people.

Will something this vulgar backfire on such a group by causing sympathy for Clinton, especially among women?

The hatred conservatives have for Hillary Clinton is breathtaking and we need to be aware of this. My fear is that if she's elected president we will have another 8 years of hateful gridlock.

We have become what they are

Andrew Sullivan is right. John Cole gets it:

I don't know what the real story of Padilla's involvement (if any) in this mess might be, and since most everything we do know was obtained while torturing the man, I doubt we ever will. I suspect that in the future, when cooler heads look back at this disgraceful period in our nation's history, the alleged villainous treachery of Jose Padilla will be greatly overshadowed by the outrageous treatment he received and the dishonest and bumbling campaign to subvert the law while attempting to publicly convict him. The real story is not Jose Padilla, who for all we know may actually have been dangerous, but who is now, courtesy of the Bush administration, a broken and mentally deficient mess. The real story will be of the little men who, in moments of great patriotic fervor, decided it was up to them to destroy our nation's principles in order to save us all.

Did you ever think you would live to see the day that an American citizen was abducted by the Federal government on US soil and held in solitary confinement without charge or access to legal counsel for years? Even more sadly, almost no one cared, and even now, those on the right are ready to shout down and snear at anyone who thinks Padilla's treatment was wrong.

History will not be kind to the Bush administration.


David Kurtz at TPM reports that Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats are set to rollover for Bush on telecom immunity. Chris Dodd is still saying he will filibuster, but as with all things, Reid is desperate to please Bush on this issue.

Here is what I had to say about this last month when the FISA bill came up.

Like last month, Call The Gutless Weasel Senator Reid's office at 202-224-3542 and let him know -- politely -- how disappointed you are in his lack of leadership on the FISA bill and telecom immunity.

Next, call the Whitehouse at 202-456-1414 and ask them --politely -- if they will please give Harry Reid back his balls.

Matt Blunt's surprise withdrawl

not such a surprise to Barbara Shelly of the Kansas City Star Editorial Board.

I really don't have much of a feel for Missouri politics, but Barbara echoes what I've heard a lot of people say over the last couple years,
The timing of Matt Blunt's announcement that he'll be a one-term governor is definitely a surprise.

The content, not so much.

Blunt has never seemed to enjoy being governor of Missouri. From the beginning, he's been in a defensive crouch. Visibly uncomfortable with the meet-and-greet aspect of his job, he never tried to establish a rapport with citizens.

Blunt's family never made the governor's mansion in Jefferson City their home. He commuted between the capital and Springfield.

Maybe he felt a family obligation to run for statewide office. But he hasn't shown a passion for either politics or governing. He's done his party a service by passing the baton to someone who has that fire.

935 Lies

(click on image to enlarge)

The blog world is all abuzz today with this catalog of administration lies compiled by The Center for Public Integrity and The Fund for Independence in Journalism.
President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Obama's speech at the Ebenezer Baptist Church

A speech you really should watch.


MO Gov. Matt Blunt is withdrawing his re-election bid two weeks before the primary.

The Boy Governor says he's accomplished all his goals.

There's another big shoe about to drop.

UPDATE: I may have the primary issue wrong. MO's presidential primary is on uber Tuesday but someone suggested the state primary will be in August.

Rate Cut

Don is right that the move by the Fed is highly unusual. Normally a .25 or .5 is the most the Fed will move the discount rate. I believe the last time there as a .75 cut as in the 1950's. And this is being called an "emergency" cut since the Fed was not suppose to meet until next week.

I think this shows the Fed Governors are more worried than they were when they signaled the market in December with a rate cut. I am surprised they cut it so much considering the data on inflation out just last week. Is seems to me that they should start to worry that we will enter a period of "stagflation", something we have not seen in 30+ years. The price of oil has dropped, but it is still way above year ago levels and other commodity prices are going up almost daily. This will soon hit food prices again for the basics - milk, eggs, bread, cheese and some meat. The foodservice industry is showing a steady downward trend as consumers have stopped eating out at quick serve restaurants like TGI, Applebees, ETC.

If consumer spending continues to fall and consumer debt keeps raising, we are in trouble. Even a "rebate" on taxes may not help. If people are concerned and use the money to pay off debt and then don't use their credit cards for a few months, the election will be all about the economy.

Thompson's out

Thompson officially drops out.

I'm not really sure he was ever in.

We didn't get the memo

Fareed Zakaria:
The Democrats are having the hardest time with the new reality. Every candidate is committed to "ending the war" and bringing our troops back home. The trouble is, the war has largely ended, and precisely because our troops are in the middle of it.
Matt Yglesias responds:
Ah, those sad, sad, Democrats. So unaware that the war's over. The dude who killed at least fourteen and wounded seventeen in Tikrit must, like the Democrats, have been wearing partisan blinders when he failed to acknowledge the surge's success in bringing the war to an end. Similarly, the US military has these newish Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles known as MRAPs. As you can tell from the name, the vehicles are designed to be resistant to roadside bombs. Only trouble is insurgents seems to have figured out how to foil them, since we had our first instance of a roadside bomb blowing up an MRAP just on Saturday.

Obviously, though, this improvement in the tactics and doctrine of anti-American fighters in Iraq can't be a big deal since the war is largely over. If the war were still happening, this kind of thing might illustrate the illusory nature of tactical improvements in the face of a bleak strategic situation. But since the war is "largely" over already there's probably no problem here.

How low will it go?

How low will the Dow dip today?

My extremely uninformed over/under is -275

UPDATE: Holy crap! The Fed slashed the discount rate by3/4 of a point before the market even opens. This is unprecedented, right? Tim, your the economist?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bush energy policy

Tax breaks to subsidize the purchase of suvs and beg the Saudis pump more oil.

A once proud nation.....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"She didn’t win it on her merit,..."

Howard Kurtz has the background on Matthews' recent apology.

Until the recent apology, Matthews has been digging in defending his remarks. Descriptions I've read of those remarks -- including those in the above article -- seem to miss the kicker that made the remarks irredeemable. You can watch the original comments here.

His tone was frank and he made it very clear that Hillary Clinton is an incompetent woman who owes 100% of her successes -- her senate seat, her re-election to the senate and her current front-runner status to her being a victim -- and in case anyone didn't understand what he was saying, in his very next breath he went on to remind everyone that "she didn't win it on her merit...."

One may not agree with her policies, or the way she lives her life, etc. But anyone who has ever listened to Hillary Clinton speak cannot honestly say that she is not a very smart person who has a keen understanding of complex policy issues. I've seen many stump speeches over the years including Bill Clinton, Edwards, Obama and Hillary Clinton, and she is as sharp and smart as anyone I've heard speak. And that's the problem with Matthews' remarks -- they're irredeemable.

Sen Clinton has every right to ask that Matthews not participate in any future candidate forums, debates, etc.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Edwards helps Obama

Chris Bowers explains why Edwards staying in the race helps Obama.

The bottom line is that Edwards draws white voters from Clinton while taking virtually no black voters from Obama.
Obama is dominating Clinton among African-Americans nationwide, and even stronger in states where campaigning has actually taken place. Edwards draws very little of the African-American vote from Obama, but is competitive for white southern votes. This means that in states like South Carolina (Jan 26th) and Georgia (Feb 5th), Obama's lead is largely dependent on Edwards staying in the campaign. In Alabama (Feb 5th), and Missouri (Feb 5th), Obama has a chance to win both states, but probably only if Edwards stays in the campaign and stays in double-digits. Obama winning Kansas (Feb 5th) is probably also dependent on Edwards staying in the campaign. Further, Obama's delegate totals in all of these states will be improved by Edwards staying in the campaign. Further, while his winning or losing in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee is not dependent on Edwards staying in the campaign, Obama's delegate totals from these states will probably be better with Edwards in the campaign than with Edwards out of the campaign. In every case, Edwards will take a larger bite out of Clinton's advantage among white voters than he will from Obama's advantage among African-American voters.

Joel Pett / Lexington Herald-Leader (January 17, 2008)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Matthew's apologizes,....kinda

Matthew's recently flipped his gourd insisting that all of Hillary Clinton's successes were because her husband "messed around on her" and that "she didn't win [the senate seat] on her merit".

Either someone has had a serious talk with Chris, or he's adjusted his meds. In any event, today he tried to apologize or his remarks, but not to the senator from New York.

Vietnam Veterans against John McCain

I hadn't mentioned this attack "group" because I wasn't sure it wasn't just a hoax.

Now that it was mentioned in the comments, I'll point to this rundown by Paul Kiel.

Another Proud Day for America

Canada puts U.S. on torture watch list

Rev Huckabee's push pollers

The Reverend knows how to fight dirty and his push-pullers had made more than 7 million calls on his behalf. TPM has been covering this story exhaustively.

The latest in South Carolina is a classic. Does the fact that "John McCain supports experiments on unborn children" change your opinion of him?

Leahy Endorses Obama

Obama picks up another key endorsement from a senate colleague.

A National Treasure

The Library of Congress has placed hundreds of photos from their archive onto Flickr.

These remarkable photographs are a national treasure. The photo above was taken by John Vachon (1914-1975) of the Grand Grocery Company in Lincoln Nebraska, 1942.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"You ring, we spring"

Truth is always stranger than fiction.

OJ Simpson's problems are getting worse. As you may know, he violated the condition of his bail by contacting one of his co-defendants. Supsequently, OJ was picked up by his bail bondsman Miguel Pereira of You Ring We Spring, and was brought back to Nevada for violating terms of his release. He's been in jail and the judge today had doubled the amount of his original bail.

OJ didn't deny violating the terms of his bail but wanted everyone to know that he is the victim of an evil bail bondsman, whom I'm guessing will not be putting up the now doubled bail amount of $250k.

OJ may be spending some time in jail this time.

This has 'made for TV' movie written all over it.

How would talk radio spin this?

The Party of Al Qaeda?

The Party of terrorist?

Former Republican Congressman and Reagan appointee Mark Silander has been indicted on 42 counts of money laundering for a charity that funneled money to Al Qaeda and lying about it to the FBI.

George Will sees the gathering gloom

In a column packed with comparative data, George Will joins David Brooks and me in pointing out just how bad things are for the GOP.
Nov. 4 could be their most disagreeable day since Nov. 3, 1964. Actually, this November could be even worse, because in 1964 Barry Goldwater's loss of 44 states served a purpose, the ideological reorientation and revitalization of the party. Which Republican candidate this year could produce a similarly constructive loss?

Today, all the usual indicators are dismal for Republicans. If that broad assertion seems counterintuitive, produce a counterexample. The adverse indicators include: shifts in voters' identifications with the two parties (Democrats now 50 percent, Republicans 36 percent); the tendency of independents (they favored Democratic candidates by 18 points in 2006); the fact that Democrats hold a majority of congressional seats in states with 303 electoral votes; the Democrats' strength and the Republicans' relative weakness in fundraising; the percentage of Americans who think the country is on the "wrong track"; the Republicans' enthusiasm deficit relative to Democrats' embrace of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, one of whom will be nominated.
And he doesn't see Hillary saving the GOP as so many hope,
But even if Democrats nominate Clinton, Republicans must remember that Bush's 2.4-point margin of victory in 2004 was unimpressive: In the 12 previous reelections of presidents, the average margin of victory was 12.9 points. Bush's 50.7 percent of the vote in 2004 was the third-smallest for a reelected president (Woodrow Wilson and Bill Clinton won 49.2 percent in 1916 and 1996, respectively). Kerry's 48.3 percent was the largest ever against a president being reelected. (In the 12 previous reelections, no losing candidate received more than 46.1 percent; nine of the losers received less than 45 percent.)
George tries to be a little gentle here (or deceptive) and toss a bone to his Republican base of readers by including Clinton's re-election vote percentage. In 1996, Perot ran as a 3d party candidate and Clinton's margin of victory was 8.5% over Dole. Bush's 2.4% margin of victory is the smallest margin for any re-elected POTUS in US history and Bush had no major 3d party to draw votes. "Unimpressive" is being very kind.

Turing corporate crime into patronage dollars

It's no secret that the Bush administration really doesn't see any problems with fraudulent corporate behavior (so long as the company doesn't collapse) but did you know they have figured out a way to extort millions from corporations in exchange for not prosecuting fraud?

And it's a really good gig if you can get it. Here's how it works. Catch a publicly traded corporation red-handed and threaten them with prosecution unless they put a Republican crony on the payroll to the tune of millions of dollars to act as a "monitor" to make sure they sin no more.

The practice of using monitors is not new and has had success stories. It's the Bush brand of using monitors, up 700% since 2001 that has caused concern. Per the Wapo, "In the past few years, U.S. attorneys in Alabama, New York and Virginia have turned to corporate monitors to keep companies clean, hiring various former prosecutors and SEC officials with ties to President Bush, his father and other Republican luminaries."

John Ashcroft just landed the biggest deal ever on a no-bid monitoring contract that will net his consulting firm $28 to $52 MILLION DOLLARS!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Can't Believe He Said That!

I haven't blogged on this site for quite a while since Don is not on vacation and he does such a good job keeping us informed of the news of the day. But I can not let Huckabee's statement go unanswered.

I am a life long United Methodist, very active in my church, a member of the leadership team and a small group youth leader. I have been reading a book for the last week named "They Like Jesus, but Not the Church" written by Dan Kimball. Mr. Kimball says that in countless interviews with non-Church attending people one of the biggest issues that the people who do not attend a Christain church see with the Christian Church is that "the church is organized religion with a political agenda." And it really pisses them off. And Huckabee's statement really pisses me off too. A whole generation of people 35 and under have nothing but ill feeling for the Christian church because of people like Huckabee who speak for God.

How dare he speak for God! Anytime someone says God said.... it time to run for the hills. The person who makes a statement claiming "God says" is usually uninformed, just quoting Scripture out of context and unable to back up his argument with real reasons other than, "The Bible says it, I believe it and that settles it!". For most of America, it does not settle it.

I hope the rest of the country sees Huckabee for the boob he is - and show him the door out of the race as soon as possible. As a life long Democrat I say now is the time for the Country Club Republicans to take back the party of big business. if they want to have a party at all for the long run. Or better yet, go ahead and make Huckabee your nominee so the party will fall into the abyss that Huckabee and his followers believes the rest of the world will fall into at the rapture.

I can't believe anyone with any sense of what the nation stands for - or once stood for - could ever vote for Huckabee.

Amending the Constitution to 'God's Standard'

To a cheering crowd yesterday, Rev. Huckabee recommended that the Constitution be “changed” to fit “God’s standards”:

I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.

Watch it:

Rawstory notes that in response, MSNBC’s “Mika Brzezinski was almost speechless, and even Joe Scarborough couldn’t immediately find much to say beyond calling it ‘interesting.’”

And in case you think this wouldn't affect you, think again my friend. Shellfish and calamari will be the first to go. (Lev. 11:10-13)

"a humongous embarrassment"

Indeed. The United States has suffered another international humiliation at the hands of the Bush administration.

Even Fox News now concedes that the supposed Iranian patrol boat threats on an American naval cruiser were nothing more than a prank by a famous heckler well known for 20 years by ship Captains who pass through the Straights as the “Filipino Monkey.”

As Steve Doocy noted on Fox and Friends, just imagine our embarrassment if we had blown unarmed patrol boats out of the water in response to a crank call?

Gretchen Carlson was right; this is "a humongous embarrassment".

Wrong Track


Matt puts the wrong track numbers from yesterday's NYT poll in some perspective. This is the first read of the year for each year of the Bush administration. The NYT provides data on this question going back to 1983. The pre-Bush high for "wrong track" was 65 percent in November of 1994. We got over 65 in March of 2006 and the public mood has stayed at least that bleak ever since then.

Picking on baseball

Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig is heading back to Congress for more testimony.

Enough already.

First, lets be clear: Bud Selig is an arrogant jackass who I despise. It is through Selig's legendary stupidity and incompetence that baseball finds itself again before Congress for more testimony. Following Canseco's book, when Congress was goaded into looking into MLB, Selig had the brilliant idea sending Congress a letter to advise them they had no jurisdiction over baseball and to mind their own business. Following that letter the used car salesman got a crash course on real power and spent 11 hours before a Congressional hearing. Thus the Mitchell Report (pdf).

But Congress has made it's point. Baseball has done by far more than any other professional sport to attempt to get a handle on PEDs.

Perhaps Congress might now want to take a look at the NFL whose linemen have nearly doubled in size over the last 15 or so years. And they might want to do it before someone is literally killed on the playing field.

Monday, January 14, 2008

"I'd like to see it shut down"

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs wants Gitmo closed as soon as possible because he believes negative publicity worldwide about treatment of terrorist suspects has been "pretty damaging" to the image of the United States. However, he's not aware of any plans to close Gitmo.

Kristol: No Comment

On Fox News Sunday on June 25, 2006, Bill Kristol said, “I think the attorney general has an absolute obligation to consider prosecution” of The New York Times for publishing an article that revealed a classified government program to sift the international banking transactions of thousands of Americans in a search for terrorists.

Clark Hoyt, the Public Editor at the NYTs, thinks it's absurd that his paper require opposition to the war as a litmus test to hiring a conservative OP/ED columnist. Hoyt thinks this is the reason that Kristol should have not been hired as a regular OP/ED contributor to the NYTs.
...Kristol’s leap to prosecution smacked of intimidation and disregard for both the First Amendment and the role of a free press in monitoring a government that has a long history of throwing the cloak of national security and classification over its activities. This is not a person I would have rewarded with a regular spot in front of arguably the most elite audience in the nation.

Kristol refused to talk with me about this issue, or an earlier statement that The Times was “irredeemable,” or the reaction to his appointment — an odd stance for someone who presumably will want others to talk to him for his column.
My problem with Kristol is that I think he is an intellectual light-weight who has been wrong for years on Iraq. He didn't just get the WMD wrong, but everything ever since, and has never had the intellectural honesty to re-think.

The NYTs should have conservative voices on their OP/ED pages and no choice will please the left, but then pleasing the left is not the point.

But is Bill Kristol really the best the Right has to offer? If that's true, they are more intellectually bankrupt than I thought.


Americans who think the country is off on the wrong track, tying the highest number ever recorded in the CBS News/New York Times poll.

It's hard to imagine a Republican winning next November in this environment.

Democrats for Romney

"Catch this guy on the right day and he's Che' Frickin' Guevera"

Kos is trying to get Dems to cross-over tomorrow in the MI primary to vote Romney. Here is how an ad might appear.