Saturday, November 04, 2006

Friday Kitten Blogging, On Saturday

Neo-Con Shuffle

Vanity Fair, which is a must-read for any liberal or moderate in this age of Cracking Conservatism (particularly James Wolcott's blog, for crackling, rippled-muscle satire), has an astounding article this month.

I'm not sure what to make of the implications: either this is a David Stockman "We knew it was all a sham, this Laffer Curve" revelation, or there's an awful lot of books to be written in 2009 by an awful lot of disgruntled civil servants.

Some examples:
I remember sitting with Richard Perle in his suite at London's Grosvenor House hotel and receiving a private lecture on the importance of securing victory in Iraq. "Iraq is a very good candidate for democratic reform," he said. "It won't be Westminster overnight, but the great democracies of the world didn't achieve the full, rich structure of democratic governance overnight. The Iraqis have a decent chance of succeeding." Perle seemed to exude the scent of liberation, as well as a whiff of gunpowder. It was February 2003, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the culmination of his long campaign on behalf of regime change in Iraq, was less than a month away.

Three years later, Perle and I meet again at his home outside Washington, D.C. It is October, the worst month for U.S. casualties in Iraq in almost two years, and Republicans are bracing for losses in the upcoming midterm elections. As he looks into my eyes, speaking slowly and with obvious deliberation, Perle is unrecognizable as the confident hawk who, as chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, had invited the exiled Iraqi dissident Ahmad Chalabi to its first meeting after 9/11. "The levels of brutality that we've seen are truly horrifying, and I have to say, I underestimated the depravity," Perle says now, adding that total defeat—an American withdrawal that leaves Iraq as an anarchic "failed state"—is not yet inevitable but is becoming more likely. "And then," says Perle, "you'll get all the mayhem that the world is capable of creating."

According to Perle, who left the Defense Policy Board in 2004, this unfolding catastrophe has a central cause: devastating dysfunction within the administration of President George W. Bush. Perle says, "The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.… At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."
Ouch. And then there's this...
To David Frum, the former White House speechwriter who co-wrote Bush's 2002 State of the Union address that accused Iraq of being part of an "axis of evil," it now looks as if defeat may be inescapable, because "the insurgency has proven it can kill anyone who cooperates, and the United States and its friends have failed to prove that it can protect them." This situation, he says, must ultimately be blamed on "failure at the center"—starting with President Bush.

Interestingly, tho, the quote that caught my eye was this:
Michael Ledeen, American Enterprise Institute freedom scholar: "Ask yourself who the most powerful people in the White House are. They are women who are in love with the president: Laura [Bush], Condi, Harriet Miers, and Karen Hughes."
In the most macho, testosterone-laden, smells-like-NOZ-mixed-with-Budweiser-and-a-shot-of-Jack, patriarchal administration in the history of administrations in this nation, the most powerful people are the adoring l'il hillbillies in th' Daisy Dukes?

I guess that makes Bush L'il Abner, huh?

Happy Sadie Hawkins Day!

(major hat tip to Katrina, my co-blogger, for finding this story...she didn't post it, because I type faster :-) )

tags technorati :

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Music Blogging

Mindless Self Indulgence

Look, I had to stand through a show of theirs this week because, you know, I'm a hip dad, and I'll be damned but misery loves company, sparky...I will give you the same warning I was given: turn. your volume. down.

By the way, this guy was the intro act...pretty amazing:
Kenny Muhammad, The Human Orchestra
...and these guys opened the show:
Lost On Liftoff

The 109th - the Nelson Muntz Congress

I have found that most people that I talk to (in person) about today's political landscape have next to no-zero-nada-bupkiss idea about how Congress works to create and pass legislation. More specifically (R)Wingnuts who, bar none, all repeat the meme of '04 " voting for before voting against", and then, ALL admit they don't know how a bill becomes a law). While I can admit to a nerdly fascination with wonky policy minutia that may have it's own psychological anomolies, I am continually amazed at how little curiousity so many Americans have in their government and how it works, yet how quickly they'll wave a flag and call you a traitor for asking questions of same government. Or how the same citizens that want to run immigrants out or down, take their own citizenship for granted by knowing jack squat about history or civics.
So, I thought Matt Taibbi's recent article in Rolling Stone was a great, albeit scary, read:

"The 109th Congress is so bad that it makes you wonder if democracy is a failed experiment," says Jonathan Turley, a noted constitutional scholar and the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Law School. "I think that if the Framers went to Capitol Hill today, it would shake their confidence in the system they created. Congress has become an exercise of raw power with no principles -- and in that environment corruption has flourished. The Republicans in Congress decided from the outset that their future would be inextricably tied to George Bush and his policies. It has become this sad session of members sitting down and drinking Kool-Aid delivered by Karl Rove. Congress became a mere extension of the White House."

The end result is a Congress that has hijacked the national treasury, frantically ceded power to the executive, and sold off the federal government in a private auction. It all happened before our very eyes. In case you missed it, here's how they did it -- in five easy steps:
Worst Congress Ever

Also, for a more "short attention span" review, read or watch his interview on Democracy Now! in which Taibbi talks about how the newer Congresspeople know little of working across the aisle because of the climate set into motion since '01, the explosion of ear marks and more. One of the stories about how this Republican-led Congress has pioneered a new way of handling conferences to finalize bills:
"There was a famous example, where the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Bill Thomas, the congressman from California, he didn't tell the ranking minority member, who was Charlie Rangel here from New York, he didn't tell him where the conference was, and Rangel went around the Congress looking for this conference, knocking on doors, and he finally finds it. He knocks on the door, and the Republicans hid behind the door, pretending that they weren't inside, literally, like little kids. They hid in there."
Goodman interviews Taibbi

Friday Kitten Blogging

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to photograph ThumbPer in time to post my regular weekly dose for you.

In lieu....other mutant cats!

Another GOP Crime Against Humanity

The Republican Party: Pro-Death:
Offer of free flu shots halted at polling places

Voting is good. Flu shots are good. But mix them together in the middle of a hard-fought election season and politics takes over.

Mayor Bill White ordered a halt Wednesday to the city health department's privately funded drive to offer flu vaccinations at early voting sites in predominantly Hispanic and black neighborhoods, amid conservative criticism that the effort would boost Democratic turnout.

About 1,300 flu shots were given to people age 50 or older in the past three days under the program, which didn't require the recipients to vote. Health officials said they were only trying to reach people in medically underserved communities.

White defended the program Wednesday but said he decided to abandon it to avoid the perception that it was an attempt to draw certain voters to the polls. White is a former chairman of the state Democratic Party and served in the administration of former President Clinton.
This was a privately funded operation whose sole purpose was to ensure the health of the elderly and young, in a convenient place to do it where people were already gathering. It's no different than holding an event like this in a church, a school, or a shopping mall.

Yet because of the whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiining of some candy ass Republicans, we will see dead babies littering the streets of Houston, dead from a deadly influenza outbreak, as up to 20% of the population of Houston will contract the flu (some 400,000 people). There could be as many as 5,000 people dead in Houston form the flu this year.

Republicans hate children. Especially minority children. Especially American minority children.

Jesus loves children. So, Republicans hate Jesus, too.

Why do Republicans hate America so?

, ,

Welcome To The Real World, England!

British believe Bush is more dangerous than Kim Jong-il

America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published today that reveals just how far the country's reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq.

Carried out as US voters prepare to go to the polls next week in an election dominated by the war, the research also shows that British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries were once cited by the US president as part of an "axis of evil", but it is Mr Bush who now alarms voters in countries with traditionally strong links to the US.
Now, finally, we have a reason why Bush has not captured Osama bin Laden...
In Britain 71% of voters now say the invasion was unjustified, a view shared by 89% of Mexicans and 73% of Canadians. Canada is a Nato member whose troops are in action in Afghanistan. Neither do voters think America has helped advance democracy in developing countries, one of the justifications for deposing Saddam Hussein. Only 11% of Britons and 28% of Israelis think that has happened.

As a result, Mr Bush is ranked with some of his bitterest enemies as a cause of global anxiety. He is outranked by Osama bin Laden in all four countries, but runs the al-Qaida leader close in the eyes of UK voters: 87% think the al-Qaida leader is a great or moderate danger to peace, compared with 75% who think this of Mr Bush.
Yes! No President Left Behind! We're Number Two! We're Number Two! Woooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

So, we're looking at a case of accountability, it seems. Unfettered power, coupled with a rubber stamp "oversight" (i.e. the US Congress and the Supreme Court) have created a danger almost as great as Al Qaeda (and in truth, doesn't Osama really represent ALL terrorists now, at least in the eyes of the general public?).

Which sort of explains this story: Iran Test-Fires 3 New Missiles in Gulf

And this sad novel: Israel holds off in Gaza; Troops seize town, but scale back plans for offensive in light of talks over kidnapped soldier, Bush meeting

And this nightmare: Nuke test set up talks

And how this scare plays out: U.S.: Wave of Attacks Planned in Nigeria

Also this Halloween story: Syria, Iran plotting Lebanon coup, U.S. says

But this? : Congress Tells Auditor in Iraq to Close Office

What in the hell are they thinking? Or are they so certain that the Democrats will regain control of both houses that they figure they won't even need a shredder; a bomb will do?

, ,

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Finish Line Tape Is Stretched

WASHINGTON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Democrats must gain six seats in Tuesday's election to win U.S. Senate control, and they lead in six of the seven most vulnerable Republican-held states, according to Reuters/Zogby polls released on Thursday.

Democrats lead Republican incumbents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Montana, Virginia and Rhode Island, but only the Rhode Island and Pennsylvania races are outside the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The polls of at least 600 likely voters in each state, taken Oct. 24 to Oct. 30, have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
By state:

CONNECTICUT - Sen. Joseph Lieberman, running as an independent, has a 49 percent to 37 percent lead on Democratic anti-war challenger Ned Lamont, down from a 20-point lead in early October.

MARYLAND - Democratic Rep. Ben Cardin leads Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele by 49 percent to 44 percent in the race.

MONTANA - Democrat Jon Tester holds a 47 percent to 46 percent lead over fast-closing Republican Sen. Conrad Burns, down from a 4-point lead in early October.

NEW JERSEY - Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, considered vulnerable after polls showed a tightening race, leads Republican challenger Tom Kean by 49 percent to 37 percent.

OHIO - Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown leads Republican Sen. Mike DeWine by 49 percent to 42 percent.

PENNSYLVANIA - Democrat Bob Casey, the son of a popular former governor, leads third-ranking Senate Republican Rick Santorum by 48 percent to 40 percent.

RHODE ISLAND - Sen. Lincoln Chafee, a moderate Republican in one of the most Democratic states, trails Democratic challenger Sheldon Whitehouse by 53 percent to 39 percent.

TENNESSEE - In a bitter race for the open seat of retiring Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist, Republican Bob Corker, the former mayor of Chattanooga, opened up a 53 percent to 43 percent lead on Democratic Rep. Harold Ford.

VIRGINIA - Democratic challenger James Webb holds a slim 45 percent to 44 percent lead over Republican Sen. George Allen, who led by 11 points in the last survey.


"The Matrix" As Political Allegory

The Matrix Trilogy

Often, you'll see The Matrix compared to Judaic history, or technocrats-v-Luddites.

I have a more down-to-earth comparison: conservatives versus liberals.

I came across this stunning insight after reading the book featured as this month's Recommended Reading in the sidebar,

Talking Right
Talking Right

Geoffrey Nunberg raises a point that George Lakoff presented in his book, Don't Think Of An Elephant: the deep psychology that separates liberals and conservatives. Quoting Lakoff:

In 1994, I dutifully read the "Contract With America" and found myself unable to comprehend how conservative views formed a coherent set of political positions. What, I asked myself, did opposition to abortion have to do with the flat tax? What did the flat tax have to do with opposition to environmental regulations? What did the defense of gun ownership have to do with tort reform? What did tort reform have to do with opposition to affirmative action?...The answer is that there are distinct conservative and progressive worldviews. The two groups simply see the world in different ways[...]

I worked backwards. I took the various positions on the conservative side and on the progressive side and I said, "Let's put them thru the [family] metaphor from the opposite direction and see what comes out." I put in the two different views of the nation, and out popped two different models of the family: a strict father family and a nurturant parent family.
Nunberg goes on to extrapolate Lakoff's work to suggest that the "strict father model" infers that children are inherently bad and must be molded into good citizens, where the nurturant model implicity stresses empathy and responsibility.

Politically this plays out as "you must comply with paternal authority and the rules, or there will be painful consequences" (a patriarchy, as it were), as opposed to "government should protect people by providing safety nets, regulations, education, equal treatment under the law, and economic policies that benefit all people" (a level playing field, if you will).

You may remember this bit from the second movie, The Matrix Reloaded:
Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly, which despite my sincerest efforts I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. While it remains a burden assiduously avoided, it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control. Which has led you, inexorably, here. [...]

The function of the One is now to return to the source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the prime program. After which you will be required to select from the matrix 23 individuals, 16 female, 7 male, to rebuild Zion. Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash killing everyone connected to the matrix, which coupled with the extermination of Zion will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race.
And indeed, the Architect goes on to identify himself as the father of the Matrix.

And the Oracle as the mother:
Neo: I suppose the most obvious question is, how can I trust you?

The Oracle: Bingo. It is a pickle. No doubt about it. The bad news is there's no way if you can really know whether I'm here to help you or not, so it's really up to you. You just have to make up you on damned mind to either accept what I'm going to tell you, or reject it.
Interesting, isn't it, how free will is the dominant theme of both of those interactions. And look at how the characters present it: one, authoritarianly tries to frighten Neo into doing as he is told, for the good of all mankind, trust him, he knows best. The other, asks Neo not to trust her, but to trust himself.

Which brings us to the ultimate discussion of human existence on the planet: the balance between individual will and the collective good, most brilliantly illustrated in The Tragedy Of The Commons. Imagine, for a moment, you live in an agrarian society that relies on cattle (Listening, Dubya?) for its livelihood. The only grazing land is public, communal, land (think of the parks in the West in America). Each rancher will want his herd to thrive, but will want the communal resource to continue. In other words....
Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit—in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.
Regulation, of course, is the key that stops this: saying that each rancher should only have so many cattle is one alternative. Another is to tax each rancher so that as their herd increases, they are forced to pay more in order to ensure the survival of the commons.

Sound familiar? The illusion of responsibility is placed on limiting the cattle and imposing strict penalties for breaking that limit, but in truth, unless it's enforced, there will always be cheating. One could, for example, claim that you are rotating the heads that graze so that you're at the limit at any one time. But in truth, the responsibilty inherent in the funded mandate scenario is clearly designed to impose responsibility on the individual rancher.

We see this in real-life in sports now: baseball, for example, imposes a luxury tax on teams whose payroll exceeds a certain ceiling (currently, only the New York Yankees pay this tax), thus ensuring that owners in weaker markets don't lose money.

In hockey, however, we see the opposite approach: a salary cap. Teams can only spend X dollars on salaries, and must operate beneath that cap in order to make player decisions: sign this free agent and lose two other good players, that sort of thing.

On the face of it, these are not wholly distinguishable from one another: both have the effect of limiting salaries paid to those whose performance generates the revenue in the first place, and to be honest, I'd rather see the money go into A-Rod's pocket than into George Steinbrenner's.

And who's to say which is more successful? I point them out only to indicate that there are two approaches to society: outside imposition of strict paternal discipline, or allowing responsibility to take root with the incentive of a "bonus" (so to speak) if you don't exceed your grasp.

So what to make of this insight? I'm not sure, and I need to think hard on this, but my suspicion is there's an answer in there as to how we can wrest the progressive agenda back on track, which ultimately we know must occur. The only question is, how much blood will be shed?

I think Lakoff's distillation might be a bit simplistic, but there's an awful lot of energy there. For example, I've seen where liberals suddenly turn to "daddies" (I've even been on the receiving end of this judgemental crap), and I know conservatives who can be as nurturing and empathetic as any bleeding-heart I know. And yet, everywhere you look, when a conservative spouts an argument, it's always full of "let's teach him a lesson he'll never forget," and you see liberals argue for a thoughtful deconstruction of the causes of...well, whatever...followed by a sympathetic discipline designed to re-incorporate the offender into the flock.

But The Matrix has a final lesson up its sleeve: it's neither the authoritarian demands, nor the nurturing coaxing that ultimately saves Neo from his choice. In fact, his choice leads to his self-destruction for the greater good of all concerned.

An individual decision to give up his ability to choose, thus freeing him at the same time.


From my mailbag, I got the following from Mr. Doggity, a regular reader of Simply Left Behind, who really ought to be blogging:
Frank Schaeffer is an ultra-conservative columnist. His daddy, Rev. Francis Schaeffer, was an evangelist who hung out with Fallwell and Robertson, and was a frequent guest in the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses. He is credited as the person most responsible for turning the anti-abortion position into a Republican political issue. A real, bona fide winger. This is an amazing op ed. I especially like where he writes about how "Lucky for God-the-author that He's not running against George Allen."

Frank Schaeffer: I should be supporting Allen. Instead, I'm leaving the party.

07:52 AM CST on Wednesday, November 1, 2006

I'm a Christian, a writer, a military parent and a registered Republican.

On all those counts, I was disgusted by an e-mail I just received that's being circulated by campaign supporters of Republican George Allen, who's trying to retain his Senate seat in Virginia.

The message goes like this: "First, it was the Catholic priests, then it was Mark Foley, and now Jim Webb, whose sleazy novels discuss sex between very young teenagers. ... Hmmm, sounds like a perverted pedophile to me! Pass the word that we do not need any more pedophiles in office."

Democrat James Webb is a war hero and former Marine, wounded in Vietnam and winner of the Navy Cross. He was writing about class and military issues long before me and has articulated the issue of how the elites have dropped the ball on military service in his classic novel Fields of Fire. By the way, that's a book Tom Wolfe calls "the greatest of the Vietnam novels."

Mr. Webb's son is a Marine in Iraq. That's an uncommon fact in this era in which most political leaders' children act as if it is only right and proper that it's someone else's war to fight.

Mr. Webb also happens to be running against a desperate opponent supported by people who circulated the stupid e-mail, something that reminds me of a 2000 smear campaign aimed at another war hero, John McCain.

I never served in the military. It was my son's unexpected volunteering that connects me to the military family and to my country. And I've been voting Republican for years. My late father – Dr. Francis Schaeffer – was an evangelical theologian, friend to Jerry Falwell and White House guest of Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and the first President Bush.

I have nice handwritten letters from various members of the Bush family, including Barbara, thanking me for my books on military service. So I have every reason to stay in the Republicans' good graces. (It's nice to be complimented on television by the First Lady.)

But enough is enough. I've had it with Republican smears.

The Webb e-mail is the embodiment of the cynical Republican strategists, some of whom must know the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Was Agatha Christie a murderer because she wrote about murder?

According to the Allen camp's logic, God would be a pedophile, too. After all, we Christians believe God inspired the Bible. And God-the-author chose to include the "sleazy" story about Lot offering to send out his young virgin daughters to be raped by the men of Sodom.

The Bible has masturbation scenes, rape, pedophilia and God's favorite man – King David – warming himself with a young virgin in his old age. He's the same man God tells us committed murder after he indulged his peeping Tom fantasies.

Lucky for God-the-author that He's not running against George Allen.

I just got back from a visit to Parris Island and was struck again – as I was on the proud day of my son's boot camp graduation there as a Marine in 1999 – by the moral credibility of the drill instructors and selflessness of the recruits.

Our political leaders should learn from them. In fact, our future leaders should be them. We need to compare today's leaders to those of the past, who earned credibility beyond the reach of cynicism and irony – and cheap smear tactics.

People like Mr. McCain – who is "for" the war in Iraq – and Mr. Webb – who is "against" the war – should be respected no matter one's politics or ideas about the war. Why? Because they paid their dues.

My wife and I have reached the tipping point. We plan to go to town hall to dump our Republican voter registration and reregister as independents. I don't care anymore what party someone is in. These days, what I care about is what they're made of.

Wartime demands leaders with character and moral authority. The political party smearing Mr. Webb proves it has neither.

Frank Schaeffer is the author of "Baby Jack," a novel about Marines. Frank Schaeffer's new novel is 'Zermatt.' His most recent work of nonfiction, co-authored with his son, Corporal John Schaeffer, is 'Keeping Faith, A Father-Son Story about Love And The United States Marine Corps.' His e-mail address is

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'm Just A Bandwagon Kinda Guy

This has been making the rounds of Blogtopia (©skippy), so I thought I'd post it here

Hump Day Marx Brothers

Groucho Explains The Role Of Fox News In The G.O.P.

Sprinting To The Finish

House control in range for Democrats-Reuters poll

By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Democrats are ahead in races for 12 of 15 key Republican-held seats in the U.S. House one week before the Nov. 7 elections, placing them within striking range of winning control of the chamber, according to Reuters/Zogby polls released on Wednesday.

Five Democrats had comfortable double-digit leads in the battle for the Congress, with just one Republican, Michele Bachmann in Minnesota, holding a double-digit advantage.

Seven of nine Republican incumbents trailed Democratic challengers in the polls, and Republicans were behind in five of six open Republican-held districts.

Democrats must pick up 15 seats to reclaim control of the House of Representatives, and the polls found Republicans struggling to avoid being swept from power for the first time since 1994.
12 of 15.

Not 8 of fifteen, nor nine, nor ten. Twelve. We need those last three seats, and we need them now. You can't be sure who will stumble badly in races that right now are "safe" (think about Mark Foley. His seat was a lock for Republicans, and now it looks like Dems will win that). Although many races that were not polled here were surprisingly competitive and it looks like the Dems may eke out a majority in the House, we have to work harder, better, smarter and now.
Just two Republican incumbents, Simmons and Drake, were ahead in their races. Republican Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky, who led Democrat Ken Lucas last month, trailed this time by 3 percentage points, within the margin of error.

Other trailing Republican incumbents were Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, behind Democrat Dianne Farrell 51 percent to 44 percent; Rep. Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania, who trailed Democrat Lois Murphy by 49 percent to 44 percent; Rep. Chris Chocola of Indiana, behind Democrat Joe Donnelly 52 percent to 39 percent, and Rep. Mike Sodrel, who trailed Democrat Baron Hill 48 percent to 46 percent.

Republican Rep. Charles Taylor of North Carolina closed the gap on Democrat Heath Shuler but still trailed by 48 percent to 43 percent, while Wilson in New Mexico was behind Democrat Patricia Madrid 53 percent to 44 percent.

In open seats, Bachmann in Minnesota led Democrat Patty Wetterling by 52 percent to 42 percent, but Democrats led in the five other open House seats polled.
If you have any spare funds lying around, saving them for a rainy day, now it's pouring. The Simmons and Drake races are both within striking distance, and if Michelle Bachmann (you remember her, the Fool For Christ?) stumbles badly in the pressure-filled last week and loses ground to Wetterling (who by all things good and decent should have had this race locked up months ago), we can really crush Republican hopes.

Start talking to people. Phoning them. Register with and go to a phone calling party, or get a list and do it from home.

If you live in any of these districts, start covering yourself in buttons and stickers, anything to get people talking to you. It's a lot easier for you to do it than for the rest of the country, because you eat in those restaurants and you pray in those churches and you go to those schools.

We can't let up now. The future of this nation, and quite literally, the future of humnanity, hangs in the balance. Not one voter missed. Not one vote uncounted.

Blind Item

Hint to a nationally-known actor and syndicated writer, who happens to lurk this blog pretty much daily, whom I count as a good friend:

There is no more humbling experience than to be caught on camera on national television. You could stand to lose a few, buddy! You probably thought no one would see it, but *I* did! Wide-angle lenses and depth-of-field are not your friend right now.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How Desperate Are These Guys?

Do you want a measure of how desperate the Republican party in general, and in New York State specifically, are this year?

New York is poised to have its first single-party government in nearly fifty years. All the statewide jobs seem to be securely locked down for the Democrats, who hold double digit leads in the governor's race, the Senate seat, attorney general, and for comptroller.

It's this last race (which I commented on earlier) that is the focus of the GOP desperation.

Alan Hevesi holds a 13 percent lead over challenger Christopher Callaghan, who by all accounts shouldn't even be in this race, but for the fact the GOP had to throw a warm body into it.

That lead had been as large as 26 points, and Hevesi holds a geometric advantage in funds left to campaign with (several million versus, ummmmm, $66,000 for Callaghan...yup. You read that correctly!). And yet....:
GOP lawyers lending help to Callaghan

Newsday Albany Bureau Chief

October 30, 2006

ALBANY -- Some of the New York lawyers that the national GOP dispatched to Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 to battle voter fraud plan to help Republican J. Christopher Callaghan in his race against scandal-ridden Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

The New York chapter of the Republican National Lawyers Association has asked its members to stay in New York to help Callaghan, the former Saratoga County treasurer, instead of working on hard-fought races in other states.
Huh? These guys could be dispatched to Tennessee, or Ohio, or Missouri, and possibly give the national party a leg up in keeping control of one if not both houses of congress...but????
"The Republican Party nationally has identified Chris Callaghan's race as a winner," said Grant Lally, a Mineola lawyer who is chair of the state chapter. "We're putting as many resources as possible into helping him."

The group plans to monitor "ballot integrity" and also assist with voter turnout by placing "boots on the ground," Lally said, adding, "This is the A-Team of American political teams."
The question has to be asked: What the fuck?
Earlier Monday, Gov. George Pataki issued his harshest indictment of Hevesi yet, saying his ethical woes had made it clear he was unfit to continue serving as the state's top fiscal watchdog.

"The Ethics Commission's findings, as well as his own running mate Eliot Spitzer's comments, make it plain in my view that he is not capable of doing that job," Pataki told reporters in Albany.
Of course, George "In Al D'Amato's Pocket" Pataki is hardly the shining and pure bastion of ethics to make this determination. Nevermind that since announcing his decision not to run again for governor this year, he has done zero for the state (even skipping the annual budget negotiations, which not surprisingly resulted in the first on-time budget in recent memory!), so little in fact that Bill Clinton yesterday called Hillary the "de facto" governor, since she's been campaigning hard upstate and solving local problems in the vacuum.

Nevermind that the economic boom he promised with his tax cuts has turned more bust than boom (and even failed to deliver on the promises of a major tax cut, even for the wealthy, despite a budget surplus).

Nevermind that Pataki has attempted to tax Indian casinos, which while not a bad idea, runs counter to the constitutions of both the United States and New York.

How about the simple fact that he refuses to fully fund public education in those places that require it the most, the inner cities....despite a court order demanding he do so immediately?

He's screwing children to the tune of billions, yet he can find fault with a guy who only wanted to have his sick wife driven around to the tune of a few thousands of dollars? That he partially reimbursed and likely will make good on in the end?


But I digress. How desperate is it when the GOP has to fully implement their panic strategy (remember, these were the front line guys in the Florida vote battle in 2000) in order to shore up a minor statewide race in a decidely blue, liberal state that will only get bluer after next Tuesday?

I think this is going to be worse for the GOP than even the most fervent Democrat could hope for.

, ,

A Halloween Present

(hat tip to MissC for finding a shortened version, forcing me to see if I could find the whole thing)

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Truth Behind Funding The Insurgency

It ain't Al Qaeda. It ain't Iran. It ain't Syria. It ain't China. It ain't North Korea.

It's us:
U.S. can't account for some weapons for Iraqi army

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military does not have a full accounting for hundreds of thousands of weapons purchased to arm some 325,500 Iraqi Security Forces by December 2006, a government report released on Sunday said.

Coalition forces were not fully accountable for the 278,000 weapons that had been purchased for the Iraqis as of August, and had apparently not complied with a requirement to register the serial numbers of all the weapons, the report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction concluded.

The report found that about $133 million of Iraqi reconstruction funds had been used to buy some 370,000 small arms ranging from semiautomatic pistols to heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

But it said Iraqi security forces lacked spare parts -- and even technical manuals -- to maintain the weapons.

Moreover, Iraqi forces had failed to fill open arms maintenance positions, and the accuracy of inventories for three of the 12 types of weapons purchased were "questionable," according to the report.
So, all the guns weren't purchased, NONE of the spare parts were purchased and even if they were, there's no one trained to repair the guns they did manage to keep!

Gee....can't imagine where all them guns that were purchased by the Sadr-led security forces might have ended up....can you? *koffkoffSADRCITYkoffkoff*

, ,

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wanna Bet Our Votes Count This Year?

I'm not sure if Hugo Chavez is crazy or cunning...
U.S. probes Chavez link to voting machine firm: NYT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government is probing whether a takeover last year of a leading U.S. voting machine maker by a software company with links to Venezuela gave President Hugo Chavez's leftist government control over its operations, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

The Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, a multi-agency panel that approves or rejects foreign takeovers, is conducting a formal inquiry into Smartmatic Corp. and its subsidiary Sequoia Voting Systems, which is based in Oakland, Calif, the Times reported in its online edition.

Smartmatic and the Venezuelan government officials have strongly denied that Chavez -- a longtime foe of the Bush administration -- has any role in Smartmatic, the Times said.
Sure, if Diebold is run by a long-time Bush supporter and Pioneer who promised to deliver Ohio for Bush, that's OK...but damn, don't let some whacko leftie foreigner interfere with the voting!

I'm guessing that, when the Republicans lose heavily in the 17 states and District of Columbia elections that Sequoia machines oversee, there will be an outcry on the right that will make Bev Harris and Bradblog seem like sober, level-headed folks.