Thursday, February 28, 2008


I guarantee that if Obama adopted this as his campaign theme song, there would be no stoppin' him:

Another endorsement well worth reading.

More Oddness, Some Ends

It's a beautiful day here in South Texas, sunny and in the 70's and, wouldn't you know, here I am fighting off a head cold - or, as it's more commonly called here "cedar fever" since these things often start with cedar allergies. Ugh. But, before I go retreat to bed with a box of Kleenex and a bottle of NyQuil, here is a collection of things found in my blog-browsings this morning:

Glenn Greenwald, bless his heart, points out the flaming hypocrisy of Tim Russert and our mainstream political press, again.

Add this to the "How It's Done" post from yesterday. We should never forget that the Republican slime machine is really, really good at what it does.

Is there something about guys named "Bill"?

Heh, the "slightly sick" side of me likes Jill's idea.

Atrios is right: Poor Exxon. Be sure and check out the first comment to this post.

And, last but not least, the wonderful World O' Crap points us to a great prank.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Si, se puede.

Can't pass up this post from Kos with the catchy title of Texas, Texas, and More Texas! Fired up, we are.

How It's Done, in Family Values circles

I know a guy who knows a guy whose brother-in-law is a die-hard Republican who says that Glenn Reynolds eats live kittenz. Pass it on. (H/T Glenzilla) UPDATE: "A lot" of people say I'm a hottie.

William F. Buckley has died. There's class, and then there's Family Values Class.

UPDATE: Family Values-style terrorism, as in "exploiting fear for political gains".

Odds and Ends, some odder than others

Juan Cole has a thing or two to say about the rightwing attempts to use Obama's middle name "Hussein" as a slur.

Uh oh. There's a contest going on. Mayhem ensues.

But, seriously. Envisioning an Obama Cabinet: Secretary of State Louis Farrakhan! Yessssssss!

Father Tyme gives us Not So Deep Thoughts, such as:
Didja…Ever wonder how the Evangelicals can say that un-provable religion is factual yet call evolution a theory?
Princess Sparkle Pony has some suggestions for the designers of Florida's license plates. (H/T Crooks and Liars).

I did some research earlier today - very labor intensive - in order to respond to this statement at a wingnut blog:
BTW, the reason people didn’t care (about the Clenis' personal life) wasn’t because he was doing a great job; it was because after 8 years of scandal after scandal after scandal they were sick and tired of hearing about it.
and I thought the results would also be worth filing away here for any future reference. Here are Bill Clinton's job approval ratings and here are George W. Bush's job approval ratings. Make of it what you will.

And, finally, somebody please feed the cat:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Reason to hope?

Mike cites Glenn Greenwald and Maja points to Andrew Sullivan in posts about Obama's poise and its effect. Here's Sullivan:
I've been watching more TV than usual. I'm struck at how many of my fellow pundits still haven't grasped what is going on out there. They keep using their old devices and tropes to describe something actually new. Last night, I watched Hannity say the word "black" pejoratively about half a dozen times in expressing his fear and loathing of the Obama phenomenon. It was like listening to Lou Dobbs talk about Hispanics. You could see he thinks this is going to work. When Kristol is reduced to actually saying "the politics of fear" rather than simply exploiting it, you realize that the Obama campaign has not just discombobulated Clinton. It has discombobulated the pundit class. You even hear long-time defenders of the Bush Republicans talk darkly about big government if Obama gets in - as if they didn't love it for the past seven years, as if they give a shit about the size of government outside election campaigns.

They didn't see it coming. They still have no clue what they're grappling with. By the time they do, it may well be over.

Brad has a suggestion!

From Sadly, No!:
Hussein X’s first act in office should be to free Mumia and appoint him as the first official Secretary of the Kill Whitey Department.
Sigh. I feel the winds of Recovery already!

What We've Lost

Graydon Carter wrote What We've Lost in 2004, before GWB was elected for his second term. I picked up about 10 copies when it came out and gave it to everyone I knew (okay, not EVERYONE). It is, quite literally, a point-by-point list - by category - of all that our country has lost as a direct result of having been under the control of the Bush administration, starting in the first chapter with a list of the names of soldiers that had been killed in, as the first chapter is titled, The President's Wars. Here are some of the other chapters: The Military, Secrecy, The Economy, The Environment, Education, Health Care, The Judiciary, The State of the Union, Our Reputation, and The President by the Numbers. Here is the introduction which you should read in full - of course, I highly recommend reading the whole book.

Yet, here we are with a little less than a year left before Bush's second term ends, and it seems that the people of the United States are only just beginning to understand how bad for our country his rule has been. In this historic election year, Democrats have an excellent chance to re-take the White House, and to gain more control in Congress, and as thankful as I am for that, I can't help but feel that it won't be enough and I worry that Democrats are not up to the task of leading us from where we are to where we need to go.

I remember thinking during the travesty that was the impeachment of President Clinton that this gambit would pay off for Republicans because any future attempt by Democrats to hold Republicans accountable for misconduct would always be portrayed as partisan payback. I am absolutely certain - beyond any doubt whatsoever - that the Rovians knew that once they got the reins of control, they could get away with anything. It's not something that I can take any comfort at all in having been right about.

The political news has been coming fast and furious these last few weeks, with the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a dead heat, and McCain struggling for something to make the members of his own Party support him. But the news that keeps getting my attention always brings me back to Carter's book about What We've Lost: The story of the Siegelman prosecution is as clear an indictment as we are ever likely to get of how utterly corrupt the Bush Justice Department is (and don't miss this from hilzoy). Tony Karon is writing a 3-part series on the changing balance of power in the world, and the first part is aptly titled Honey, I Shrank The Superpower which sums up The Bush Effect quite nicely (Part two is here). These two posts talk about the politicization of our Intelligence that has done untold harm. Then, of course, there's the fact that our economy appears to be on the verge of collapse.

What in the world is President Clinton or President Obama going to be able to do to turn this ship around, hell to even get it back above water? If George Bush and Dick Cheney are allowed to finish their terms without ever having been held accountable for their crimes, how do we begin to restore our country's faith in our own integrity and in the rule of law?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yes, I watched the Oscars

I'm really not that crazy about "awards" shows, but I am a bit of a movie fanatic (hmm, can one be "a bit" fanatic? Would that be like being "a bit" pregnant?) - Anyway, I watched the Oscars with my friend Jeannette last night and we oohed and ahhed about which stars looked fabulous and tittered about why Cameron Diaz couldn't manage to do something with her hair, got teary-eyed at the flashback montages, and critiqued the jokes. We both felt that it was interesting that the awards seemed pretty evenly distributed this year with, for the most part, everyone getting something as opposed to what often happens where one film seems to run away with all the top categories. Of course, having not seen a lot of the contenders, I don't suppose I have the proper authority to say which awards were deserved and which were not, but hell, I will anyway: I was disappointed that "Atonement" didn't win for Art Direction, and the only award they managed to come up with was for Musical Score. Again, to be fair, it looked like they had stiff competition for this category (Sweeney Todd won) and I didn't see the other contenders. Jeannette was very excited that the song from "Once" won, having just seen that film the night before:

But I would have liked to have seen this one win instead:

We also both thought that the quality of the ads that aired during the show was impressive, and I thought more so than those that aired during the Super Bowl. (Yes, Virginia, there are people who are interested in advertising. My friend Gayle ONLY watches the Super Bowl for the ads.)
Tilda Swinton certainly seems a quirky personality, doesn't she? And while I was impressed with her performance in "Michael Clayton" I was sorry that Ruby Dee didn't win for "American Gangster" but I'm sure that is my old-lady sentimentality talking (especially since I haven't actually SEEN "American Gangster" - cough, cough); same for the French actress who won for Best Actress - I was pulling for Julie Christie, even though I didn't see either of the films of those two actresses.
So there you go - My Thoughts About The Oscars! What, you want me to talk about POLITICS? Stay tuned....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

I don't think I'd call it "genius" either

But there has to be some kind of new word for the hocus-pocus that was required to convince anybody that this porkbutt:

was really a silk purse.

A twofer

From Kevin Drum:
LOVE CHILD WATCH....Email from a reader:

I would like you to stay on top of this McCain story. If it gets dug into deep enough, I'm hoping we will eventually find out that McCain has been having an affair with David Broder.

Consider it done....

—Kevin Drum 11:27 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

CASTRO'S LEGACY....Ezra Klein recommends Tony Karon on Fidel Castro. He's right: it's a nice piece.

—Kevin Drum 10:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)
The hat-tipping on that second one was too complicated, so I thought it best just to include the whole thing....

UPDATE: And I'm adding Rootless Cosmopolitan to my blogroll. If you haven't checked it out, please do - it is great.

Oh okay, The Debate in Texas

Heydave reminds me that I'd better damn well SAY SOMETHING about the debate that took place in my back yard last night. I didn't watch it, and I couldn't even bribe any of my friends to go watch it. So there you have it. BUT, as usual there is great commentary to be found all over blogtopia, and I'm right on top of THAT story! These are my two favorites so far.

On Success

When I read articles like this (H/T Brad)I wonder where my now-long-lost-GoodFriend-Bill is and what he is "thinking":
So the best that we can hope for, in terms of American troops risking their lives in Iraq, is that there will be just as many in July -- and probably in January, when Bush leaves office -- as there were a year ago. The surge will have surged in and surged out, leaving us back where we started. Maybe the situation in Baghdad, or all of Iraq, will have improved. But apparently it won't have improved enough to risk an actual reduction in the American troop commitment.

And consider how modest the administration's standard of success has become. Can there be any doubt that they would go for a reduction to 100,000 troops -- and claim victory -- if they had any confidence at all that the gains they brag about would hold at that level of support? The proper comparison isn't to the situation a year ago. It's to the situation before we got there. Imagine that you had been told in 2003 that when George W. Bush finished his second term, dozens of American soldiers and hundreds of Iraqis would be dying violently every month; that a major American goal would be getting the Iraqi government to temper its "debaathification" campaign so that Saddam Hussein's former henchmen could start running things again (because they know how); and that "only" 100,000 American troops would be needed to sustain this equilibrium.

You might have several words to describe this situation, but "success" would not be one of them.


Our friend Mike has an interesting post up about McCain's bad luck with flying machines. But tristero has a post entitled "It's His Judgment, Stupid" that might really get to the crux of the Icky Vicky matter. In the same vein, here's NYT editor Bill Keller on NPR (emphasis mine):
Keller says the relevance of McCain's relationship to Iseman stems from his political identity as someone who wages war against monied powerbrokers seeking to exert influence on Capitol Hill.

"He came back from Vietnam a hero, entered into public life and then was felled by the Keating Five scandal," Keller says. "If you read his books, it was clearly a humiliating event for him. And he subsequently built his political life on themes of redemption, reform, you know, rectitude, if you will — and became the scourge of lobbyists, the champion of campaign finance reform, and so on, in Washington."

"Yet, according to some people who knew him best, he can be surprisingly careless about his reputation," Keller says. "And that's what I think this, his relationship with this particular lobbyist, illustrates, although I think there's a lot of other illustrations as well in the piece."
And I think "carelessness" is a quality we don't need any more of in the White House.

Either he does, or he doesn't

Which is worse? And does it matter? Steve Benen notes (emphasis mine):
* Bill O’Reilly on Michelle Obama: “I don’t want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there’s evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that’s how she really feels — that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever — then that’s legit.” I wonder if he can even begin to understand why “lynching party” was the wrong choice of words.
You know, Don Imus got booted off the air for his racist remarks. All anyone needs to know about the Fox Broadcasting Company is that Bill O'Reilly has maintained such a position of prominence there all these years.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cleansing the mental palate

Vasily Kandinsky. (French, born Russia. 1866-1944). Watercolor (Number 13). (1913). Watercolor, ink and pencil on paper, 12 5/8 x 16" (32.1 x 40.6 cm). Katherine S. Dreier Bequest. © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Because there's only so much reading what passes for political journalism these days that one can do without, you know, needing a break. Having to contemplate John McCain's sex life may have just pushed me over the edge.

That said, though, here is a post from hilzoy that offers a really good example of how it should be done, and how bloggers are doing it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Something tells me

that the election this fall is going to be a blowout of historic proportions.

November can't get here soon enough

Lessons Learned

Fox News's Special Report yesterday:

GOLER: The president says it's better that African nations deal with African problems. White soldiers in Darfur, he believes, would be targets for all sides.

BUSH: A clear lesson I learned in the museum was that outside forces tend to divide people up inside their country and are unbelievably counterproductive.

The museum was the Rwandan genocide museum.

-Atrios 09:36

Obama in Texas

Pictures from Houston.

Pictures from San Antonio.

Interview with San Antonio's Carlos Guerra.

Interesting point (though NOT about Texas): Hilzoy points us to Al Giordano who tells us this about Wisconsin:
This will be the biggest unnoticed story from tonight, with 85 percent of precincts reporting in both party primaries:

Obama: 528,654 (58 percent of Democratic primary votes)

Clinton: 379,688

All Republicans combined: 340,464

College town of Madison yet to roll in…

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Goodbye to Castro

Stop the presses!

Our pal, Freewheel, has demanded that I provide an official Beginning To Wonder endorsement and I am nothing if not an obliging soul, so here it is: I will be casting my vote for Barack Obama in the Texas Presidential primary on March 4. Why? Well, because The Left told me to. I certainly expect my announcement to be greeted with the same level of excitement that this one has been met with. Alright, seriously: I love Hillary and I think she is smart and capable and would make a fine President. But I think there are a couple of factors that give Obama the edge: I appreciate that he voted against the AUMF in Iraq and was keenly disappointed that she voted for it, same with the Kyl-Lieberman vote. Those were not smart decisions on her part. I also think she has demonstrated some weaknesses with her campaign organization, perhaps entrusting people she shouldn't have, whereas Obama has run an impressive campaign so far. I am excited about the groundswell of enthusiasm that Obama has been able to generate, and I think that this bodes well for his ability to accomplish some difficult tasks as President. As Maha puts it:
I have argued before that one person, even a POTUS, cannot heal the nation’s sick political culture. But I believe healing the nation’s sick political culture is not only possible (although not easy), I think the life of our nation depends on it. That healing will take a movement, an overwhelming crush of public opinion that will chase the wingnuts back under their rocks. I think Obama gets that; I don’t believe Clinton does.
Vanquishing the Beast, doncha know.

UPDATE: In the Great-Minds-Think-Alike category....

Monday, February 18, 2008


Sorry to have been AWOL the past few days - don't think that I pulled a Bill-type maneuver and disappeared with no explanation! I was just having computer problems that I couldn't get resolved until today. But I'm back online now and ready to rumble! What have I missed?

Friday, February 15, 2008

"Now, we must continue to be vigilant."

I received this in an email from the Texas Freedom Network(emphasis added by me):

State Board of Education member Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi, has released the following letter to teachers and others who opposed efforts this week by far-right board members to scrap a new language arts curriuclum that educators and experts had been developing for two years. The state board's chairman, Don McLeroy, had said he wanted to replace that curriuclum with an alternative offered at the last minute by far-right activist/education gadfly Donna Garner. TFN received permission to publish this letter in News Clips.

February 14, 2008

I want to thank all the teachers, educators, parents, and citizens of Texas for taking the time to give public testimony before the State Board of Education regarding the revision of the state’s English-language arts-reading (ELAR) curriculum standards on February 13. I was very proud of each and every presenter who supported the formal ELAR document that teachers and experts have been crafting and the continuation of work towards its realization.

Now, we must continue to be vigilant. The members that were promoting Donna Garne’s alternative document and that was a part of the substitute motion introduced by the Chairman of the Board, Don McLeroy, are planning their next move. A subcommittee was selected by the Chair, so we must watch what they do. I am sure of one thing. They will not rest until they have the contents of the alternative document well-entrenched into the body of the work that the English teachers of Texas have been carefully and meticulously developing for the past two years.

What you saw at that meeting is what the other seven moderate board members have been up against since the right-wing members came to power. Know them by what they believe and who they are supposed to represent. Those right-wing board members are: Don McLeroy, Chair (College Station), David Bradley, Vice-President (Beaumont), Rick Agosto, Secretary (San Antonio), Barbara Cargill (The Woodlands), Cynthia N. Dunbar (Richmond), Terri Leo (Spring), Gail Lowe (Lampasas), Ken Mercer (San Antonio). It is not a fight among Democrats or Republicans, but the reckless idea of the right-wing members of the board trying to impose their social agenda into the fabric of education in Texas. Many of these individuals are home-schoolers who do not even support or believe in public education. They believe in promoting charter schools and vouchers, and that is an agenda that undercuts the work of public education.

I ask you to please network with other educators so that everyone starts paying attention to what is going on at the State Board of Education. If we do not, the right-wingers will continue to interject their narrow and extremely conservative ideas into all aspects of education. In a few months we will be discussing the science and biology textbooks. Their goal is to put Intelligent Design in the same science books with the theory of evolution. I think that these two philosophies have merit, but neither belong in the same textbook nor should they be taught as such. Please alert your science teachers of this fact and join the thousands of scientists from around the country who have signed off against this idea. It is not the will of one person or one group that should be heard but rather the will of the people who live in a free and Democratic society.

I want to thank you once again for your dedication and your willingness to hold fast to the courage of your convictions. I congratulate you and wish you all the best in the hard work that you do every day with this precious resource you work with on a daily basis, the children of the state of Texas.

Yours truly,

Mary Helen Berlanga

He's not "confused"

He's lying.
It’s deeply unfortunate that, after all of these months of debate and discussion, the president is still this confused.

The Bush administration wants to extend amnesty to telecommunications companies that appear to have broken the law. I say “appear” because the telecoms can have their day in court, presenting evidence, and defending their decisions. Bush believes Congress should stop ongoing legal proceedings, and doing so is important enough to hold the nation’s surveillance laws hostage. (As Matt Yglesias put it, “It’s almost as if the Republican Party exists to serve the interests of large business enterprises and very wealthy individuals, and tends to use national security and cultural anxieties as a kind of political theater aimed at securing votes so that they can better pursue their real agenda of enriching the wealthy and powerful.”)

The notion, though, that telecoms would no longer cooperate with intelligence agencies is just foolish. Two things would happen without telecom immunity: 1) the companies and their teams of lawyers would defend their decisions in a fair trial; and 2) the companies would continue to cooperate because the administration (and any future administration) would get a warrant.

To hear Bush tell it, telecoms would start blowing off court orders. That’s simply not realistic — the telecoms and their lawyers are well aware of the fact that refusing to honor a warrant would bring rather drastic legal consequences. With or without amnesty for previous criminal conduct, the companies will have to cooperate — they won’t have a choice.


(via Atrios again, but emphasis mine):

The issue is not "intelligence gaps." Rather, as McConnell candidly admits, the "real issue" is "liability protection for the private sector." To take them at their word, George Bush and Mike McConnell are putting the nation at risk in order to ensure that AT&T and Verizon do not have to be held accountable in a court of law for having broken the law. Think about how twisted and corrupt that calculus is.
I don't actually believe this is about protecting the telcoms; it's about protecting themselves. And given the fact that a supine press has been relatively unconcerned that the president had been illegally spying on Americans without warrants as required by law for years, one wonders just what it is they feel the need to hide.

The House shows the Senate how it's done:

(H/T Atrios)
Congressman Reyes writes to President Bush.

Washington, DC - Congressman Silvestre Reyes, D-TX, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, sent the following letter to President George W. Bush today regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The text of the letter is below:

President George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The Preamble to our Constitution states that one of our highest duties as public officials is to "provide for the common defence." As an elected Member of Congress, a senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I work everyday to ensure that our defense and intelligence capabilities remain strong in the face of serious threats to our national security.

Because I care so deeply about protecting our country, I take strong offense to your suggestion in recent days that the country will be vulnerable to terrorist attack unless Congress immediately enacts legislation giving you broader powers to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans' communications and provides legal immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the Administration's warrantless surveillance program.

Today, the National Security Agency (NSA) has authority to conduct surveillance in at least three different ways, all of which provide strong capability to monitor the communications of possible terrorists.

First, NSA can use its authority under Executive Order 12333 to conduct surveillance abroad of any known or suspected terrorist. There is no requirement for a warrant. There is no requirement for probable cause. Most of NSA's collection occurs under this authority.

Second, NSA can use its authority under the Protect America Act, enacted last August, to conduct surveillance here in the U.S of any foreign target. This authority does not "expire" on Saturday, as you have stated. Under the PAA, orders authorizing surveillance may last for one year - until at least August 2008. These orders may cover every terrorist group without limitation. If a new member of the group is identified, or if a new phone number or email address is identified, the NSA may add it to the existing orders, and surveillance can begin immediately. We will not "go dark."

Third, in the remote possibility that a new terrorist organization emerges that we have never previously identified, the NSA could use existing authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor those communications. Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the FISA Court has approved nearly every application for a warrant from the Department of Justice. In an emergency, NSA or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may begin surveillance immediately, and a FISA Court order does not have to be obtained for three days. The former head of FISA operations for the Department of Justice has testified publicly that emergency authorization may be granted in a matter of minutes.

As you know, the 1978 FISA law, which has been modernized and updated numerous times since 9/11, was instrumental in disrupting the terrorist plot in Germany last summer. Those who say that FISA is outdated do not understand the strength of this important tool.

If our nation is left vulnerable in the coming months, it will not be because we don't have enough domestic spying powers. It will be because your Administration has not done enough to defeat terrorist organizations - including al Qaeda -- that have gained strength since 9/11. We do not have nearly enough linguists to translate the reams of information we currently collect. We do not have enough intelligence officers who can penetrate the hardest targets, such as al Qaeda. We have surged so many intelligence resources into Iraq that we have taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result, you have allowed al Qaeda to reconstitute itself on your watch.

You have also suggested that Congress must grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies. As someone who has been briefed on our most sensitive intelligence programs, I can see no argument why the future security of our country depends on whether past actions of telecommunications companies are immunized.

The issue of telecom liability should be carefully considered based on a full review of the documents that your Administration withheld from Congress for eight months. However, it is an insult to the intelligence of the American people to say that we will be vulnerable unless we grant immunity for actions that happened years ago.

Congress has not been sitting on its hands. Last November, the House passed responsible legislation to authorize the NSA to conduct surveillance of foreign terrorists and to provide clarity and legal protection to our private sector partners who assist in that surveillance.

The proper course is now to conference the House bill with the Senate bill that was passed on Tuesday. There are significant differences between these two bills and a conference, in regular order, is the appropriate mechanism to resolve the differences between these two bills. I urge you, Mr. President, to put partisanship aside and allow Republicans in Congress to arrive at a compromise that will protect America and protect our Constitution.

I, for one, do not intend to back down - not to the terrorists and not to anyone, including a President, who wants Americans to cower in fear.

We are a strong nation. We cannot allow ourselves to be scared into suspending the Constitution. If we do that, we might as well call the terrorists and tell them that they have won.


Silvestre Reyes

Member of Congress

Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Because it's what they do best

which is still not so good.

This horror must end.

I grieve for the families and friends of the victims, for the community of Northern Illinois, and for our nation.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

In other VD news

This is good to know. Be sure and watch the Molly Ivins video, especially if you're at work - turn it up loud!

Pam has a gift suggestion.

I do so love, love, love World O' Crap, and not least because they have the greatest community of commenters (am I right, heydave?!) one of whom is DSidhe who has another gift suggestion.

I think this might be my idea of the perfect gift for today: My friend Gayle offers selections from her Blue Book series. (My favorite, for the throngs of you who are interested, is "Patent Plugs for Pifflicated People").

"I Pick You"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Go out and kiss someone today!

Years and years ago, a coworker asked our staff to submit suggestions for a list of favorite Valentine's Day songs, and I submitted the Stones song I include in today's list - the rest is just a random sample of songs I find appropriate for the day. It could go on for miles, so I hope you appreciate that I kept it as short as I did! As always, dear readers, I welcome your suggestions in the comments. To begin:

Sam Cooke and Sam Cooke and Sam Cooke. I mean, you couldn't go wrong on Valentine's Day if you just played Sam Cooke all day - this guy, with his voice like melted butter, could make even a song about prison sound romantic! But I'm going to try to provide a little something for everyone. Just know that I'm an old coot who's pretty clueless about anything that came after the 80's unless it had to do with the delta blues. So here we go - I'm just going to list the artists, you have to click on them to see which song I selected:

Patsy Cline
the Stones
the Coles
the Beach Boys
Ben E. King
Bob Dylan
Screamin' Jay
Stevie Winwood
Neil Young
Aretha (with Cissy Houston and the Sweet Inspirations! ZOMG!)
Janis Joplin
Roy Orbison
Jimi Hendrix
Magda Kalmar
Buddy Guy

And a bonus one for the ex who, in one of life's delicious little ironies, gave me a boxed set of fabulous works by this lady.

Just in time for Valentine's Day

Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 10:45 AM
Subject: FW: Why Latinas Need Therapy

Morning chuckle….


La Mama: 'Hello?'

La Hija: 'Hi Mama. Can I leave the boys with you tonight?'

La Mama: 'You're going out?'

La Hija: 'Yes.'

La Mama: 'Con quien?'

La Hija: 'With a friend.'

La Mama: "I don't know why you left your husband. Siempe te queria and he was such a good man.'

La Hija: 'Mom. I didn't leave him. He left me!'

La Mama: 'You let him leave you, and now you go out with these anybodies and nobodies.'

La Hija: 'MA, I do not go out with anybody. Can I bring over the boys?'

La Mama: 'Ni una ves te deje to go out with anybody, except your father.'

La Hija: 'There are lots of things you did and I simply refuse...'

La Mama: 'Que quieres decir?'

La Hija: 'Nothing, I just want to know if I can bring the kids over tonight.'

La Mama: 'You're going to stay the night with him? Pues que va decir tu esposo?'

La Hija: 'MA!!! HE'S NOT MY ESPOSO...HE'S MY EX HUSBAND!! I don't think he would be bothered considering the day he left me, he's never slept alone!'

La Mama: 'So you're going to sleep over at this loser's place?'


La Mama: 'Un hombre no debe salir con una mujer divorciada y con ninos? No tiene verguenza!'


La Mama: 'Mis pobres nietos with such a mother.'

La Hija: 'SUCH A WHAT?'

La Mama: 'Sin estabilidad!!. No wonder your husband left you.'

La Hija: 'ENOUGH MA!!!'

La Mama: 'No me grites! You probably scream at the loser too!'

La Hija: 'GREAT MA, now you're worried about the loser?'






"Even our conscience is a moving target."

Wingnuts love nothing more than to sneer at the palpable anger of those who are in opposition to the Bush administration - you know, the other 70 to 80% of the country. Behold. Oh those crazy hippies, who do they think they are, wanting to impeach the President! I must express my admiration for my friend Mike's willingness to go in and debate with these people - I find it very, very difficult.

Needless to say, there is no amount of taunting or sneering that could make me feel ashamed of how angry I am. This fellow puts it quite well (H/T Atrios):
People don't blame both parties equally for the current shit state of affairs that is our nation right now. They blame the Republicans for fucking things up and they blame the Democrats for not doing a damn thing to stop them. RAM that up your ass.
That is exactly right. Those of us who are the most angry are responding to a sense of abandonment by our representatives in government, and the complete breakdown of a system we had had faith in. We don't recognize our country anymore, and are horrified by what we have become. Here are two examples of conditions that the Bush administration has brought us: First, this outstanding article by Dahlia Lithwick (H/T Anonymous Liberal) must not be missed. (I may have to start reading Slate again - I used to read them every day, and I always loved Dahlia Lithwick's articles, but I lost interest in that site awhile back.) Then there's this post by dday over at Digby's place which sums up thusly:
Take a few minutes out of your election coverage and really take a look at this story. It is the expected consequence of the Bush Republican era of corporate dominance.
Damn right I'm angry, deranged even. I don't know how any sane person could not be. There are several ways to cope with this anger, some better than others - but the best ones involve taking action such as contributing to campaigns ("We have to elect more and better Democrats") and entering contests!

UPDATE: Tim F. over at Balloon Juice responds to the story referenced in the post by dday above:
The absolutist kneejerk ideology that wrecked every aspect of Iraq is just part of Republican disease. It’s the basic reason why thinking conservatives like this blog’s proprietor won’t think of voting for even a seemingly reasonable Republican like John McCain. One “reasonable” guy won’t change party’s profound illness. Maybe an old-fashioned bleeding plus some fresh wilderness air will bring the patient back. Maybe even that won’t clean out DeLay corrupticons, Malkinite authoritarians and slobbering neocon torture fetishists, in which case it’s time to start shopping around for hospice care. Either way it’s gratifying to see large majorities recognizing that political power is no more in the patient’s best interest than America’s.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

About that democracy thing...

Time to let your representatives hear from you:

Regarding FISA legislation currently snaking its way through Congress, and

On the case to be made for impeaching Cheney.

Do what you can. Thanks.

Ruby Tuesday

Oh, okay, why not:

Since I am planning to include a Stones song this Thursday as part of my Valentines Day Extra Special Musical Extravaganza Blowout (and I leave it to you to ponder about WHICH ONE in feverish anticipation...) I thought that maybe this would be too much Stones in one week - but, believe me, I'm ashamed that I even entertained such a silly thought for one fraction of a second.

So here's what going on this Tuesday:

Endorsements! Endorsements! Endorsements!

This post by Dave Neiwert does a good job of putting the recent Washington state Republican election shenanigans into proper perspective.

In a state known for its brassy babes, this was one of the brassiest and best. Thx Phoenix Woman.

Anticipating and explaining the Texas primary.

These guys must be taking their cues from American telecoms. At least there was a judge willing to say no - presumably they don't have a Congress chomping at the bit to give them retroactive permission to ignore the judge's ruling.

Crooks & Liars featured J. J. Cale last night and correctly noted that he is better known as a guy who writes songs that other people make hits with. I would just like to point out that I featured a song of his, that actually WAS a hit of his own, but which version by Cissy Houston I happen to prefer.

Monday, February 11, 2008

BDS or, as it's known in mental health circles, "sanity"

I find it almost touching, in a schadenfreudistic kind of way, that the 30%ers are wringing their hands in despair over whether to suck it up and vote for McBushlite or to stay home on election day in a fit of pique which they think has something to do with "principles", as if what they decide is going to have ANY IMPACT AT ALL on the outcome of the election this fall. They apparently haven't figured out that, in the words of the inimitable Barry Corbin*, "You can't stop what's comin". 'Course if these guys had any figuring out skills at all they wouldn't be 30%ers to begin with, so there you go.

Still, I'm hard pressed to come up with much enthusiasm for the inevitable Democratic victory this fall. Obama or Clinton is going to have a huge mess on his/her hands, which we all know damn well that Republican operatives are already gearing up to blame them for starting, oh about 1/21/09. Here's how it works (H/T Atrios):
If the Goverment is a car setting out to give every one a ride to work, then for 40 years the Republicans have been puncturing the tires, pouring sand in the gas tank, stealing the distributer cap, and, whenever they can get their hands on the wheel, driving it straight into the nearest ditch and then, pointing to the wreckage as the tow truck backs up to it, saying, See, this proves that people were meant to walk.

And they do this so that they don't have to chip in on gas.
Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C, and so on and so forth. So when the little Dickface-in-Chief goes on Fox News and smirks about how the rich (i.e. himself and his friends) hire accountants to get out of paying their taxes or pontificates to tornado victims in Tennessee about how "life is unfair" and I realize that there will probably be blizzards in hell before Little Boots is ever held accountable for the destruction that he has wrought, well, I don't think even six months in Rehab would be enough to lift me out of my funk.

*COMPLETELY BESIDE THE POINT: Could anyone ever forget Barry Corbin delivering these lines:
Peach: Surely, Roscoe, you can find Texas! Roscoe: I can find Texas, but how do I find July?

How did that happen?

Is it really Monday morning, and is George W. Bush still president? Damn.

I need more coffee, and I need a vacation. Not necessarily in that order.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A strange ruling

I don't think I understand the ruling by the judge on this one. Clearly, Ms. O'Keefe intended her gift as an expression of support for Fisk University, and it's not as if they were intending to sell the paintings, only to share them with a nearby museum. The article mentions the painting shown here at left, the 1927 "Radiator Building - Night, New York."

It's a glorious day here in the central part of Texas, sunny and it's supposed to get up near 80 this afternoon - the kind of day that makes many of us run out and buy plants and start digging in our gardens, sure that spring has arrived, knowing full well that we will likely get another freeze sometime in the first week of March. You just wait and see!

Friday, February 8, 2008


I'm telling you, you're missing out if you are not reading every post from Leonard Pierce over at Sadly, No! who is posting dispatches from the CPAC after having decked himself out in Walmart threads and cheap shoes and is passing himself off as a lobbyist for the "American Milk Solids Council."

The Youth Vote. 'Nuff said. Well, actually no, 'cause then there's this.

John Cole engages in what-if fantasizing and offers his thoughts on semantics (see my "Semantics" post below):
*Note- Conservative and conservatism are now meaningless terms, as conservative now means Crazy yahoo who loves him some Bush and goes along unflinchingly with whatever dumb ideas the NRO, Hewitt, and Malkin now claim are “conservative”.

Why on earth would ANYONE listen to ANYTHING this snakeoil salesman has to say and not think to themselves: Why, there goes the sleaziest, lyingest sack of shit ever to walk the earth! Just sayin'.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

He's better trained than George W. Bush:

Other odds and ends:

This is rapidly becoming my most favoritest advice column ever.

Way more Democrats than Republicans are showing up at the polls this primary season. Doesn't that bode well for the general election?

LP volunteers to mole for us at this year's CPAC which promises to be quite entertaining:
Lesson learned: when I arrive at the hotel, two Young Americans for Freedom are trying to check in using a credit card not belonging to them. Rules, of course, are for poor people, and they seem to think that if they berate the poor West African guy working the front desk, they’ll get what they want eventually. They may be wrong, but God damn it, no late-shift immigrant is going to tell them that. Modern Washington, the Washington of Bush and CPAC, was built to keep people like him from telling people like them what to do. I breeze in past them, a solid citizen with my own plastic, and take my place on the fifth floor just in time to replenish the opioids in my system: the flight in took me right over the Pentagon, and every time I fly that route, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s the last thing a bunch of people ever saw. It rattles me, rattles me like I was a Cameroonian hotel management student getting berated by some short-con trust fund kids. Things are already going badly and I haven’t even set foot in a CPAC event: it’s far too early to be wondering “what in God’s name am I doing here?”. Steady on, man: think of your colleagues at the American Milk Solids Council, who are counting on you to rub the right elbows and ensure that we can sell baby formula to Botswana without some meddlesome paper-peddler going on and on about necrotizing enterocolitis.

What I am doing here is to separate bad from worse. The convention will be attended, largely, by two groups of people: the mainline Republican rump who think George W. Bush was, and is, doing a Brownian heck of a job, and the radical right who think that the problem with Jolly George is that he’s not heartlessly conservative enough (whether socially or economically is a matter for a whole ‘nother fistfight). To put it another way, here we have the people who look at the wreckage of the American 2000s and pronounce it a wonderful thing, and the people who look at it and say “Yeah, it’s pretty awful, but if we tried, we could make it a whole lot worse”.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Okay, because you've been very, very good...

Here are three by Spirit. They're still great, even without the acid buzz:

Are we having fun yet?

You know, I'm exhausted and I didn't stay up one minute past my bedtime last night to watch election returns. I'm worn out from reading all about them this morning! My goodness, what a race this is. But here are some questions that are going through my mind this morning: If Clinton wins the nomination, would she invite Obama to run as her VP and would he accept? I don't see Clinton as a VP candidate in any eventuality. I think Chris Dodd would be an excellent VP or Senate Majority Leader, same for Russ Feingold. Bill Richardson would also be an interesting choice for VP. I think John Edwards would be a wonderful Attorney General. It seems that, overall, Democrats are pleased with both candidates, whereas Republicans are displeased with their choices, but I worry about a Clinton/McCain face-off, and the question of VP may end up being rather critical (for the first time ever!). I think Mitt Romney is toast, but do any of you think that Mike Huckabee could end up being McCain's pick for VP??

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Oh, I know that feeling.....

Mike Madden:
Still. Predicting election results based on second-hand exit polling (and only the toplines, at that) is sort of like doing too many shots of tequila; sure, it might be fun while it lasts, but you're killing your brain cells -- and you know you won't want to wake up in the morning. So before I get carried away, I'm going to put down the raw numbers (and the salt) and walk away carefully.

Vanquishing the Beast, aka VTB if one is texting

Crooks and Liars leads us to one Scott Horton:
But these responses reflect a misunderstanding of the role that impeachment has historically played in the American democracy, and the English roots of impeachment as a constitutional device. They see in impeachment a measure which is purely ad hominem in nature, and avoid the much more important institutional aspect.
Gee, perhaps because that's how it was most famously and recently used in the 1990's, still fresh in everyone's mind?
I predict that before Bush leaves office, the case for his impeachment will and should be given a more careful hearing. It must not be pursued as a partisan remedy to force a transfer of power. Rather it should be used as an institutional remedy. Polling now shows that a large majority of Americans believe that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have committed serious transgressions against the Constitution which would merit consideration of the impeachment process. Impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney for their attempts to hijack the Constitution would make a clear statement about abuse of power. It would also serve to put reasonable constraints on the conduct of their successors–who are likely to be Democrats. This is a step which genuine Conservatives and Republicans who adhere to their party’s former understanding of a government with an executive of carefully limited and checked powers should welcome and embrace.(emphasis mine)
See also previous post, "conservatives" vs. "wingnuts"


Something to chew on while we're waiting for this day to be over: What happened to real conservatives? I'm not talking about most people who call themselves "conservatives" today - most of them are actually "wingnuts". Note the description as "nominally conservative", i.e., in name only. Here is the definition of "conservative". I challenge anyone to find anything about today's "conservatives" or certainly the Bush administration that fits in any of those criteria - unless the rather murky term "traditional" could be implied to mean "pre-Revolutionary War-style monarchy" when it comes to our government. But I think that might be stretching "traditional" a bit, don't you? What I want to know is how real conservatives came to allow the wingnuts to not only define themselves as "conservatives" but to redefine "liberalism" as well. I submit that the Bush administration represents the apex of a radical rightwing agenda that has sought to fundamentally change the function and operation of our government, and not for the better. The people driving this agenda have used subterfuge and outright criminality to advance their aims. So where are the principled and intelligent conservatives and why aren't they loudly decrying this usurpation of their identity? George Will comes to mind, I guess, and bloggers such as John Cole. But I mean, really, how in the world have gasbags like Rush Limbaugh gotten away with calling themselves "conservatives"? How come true conservatives have stood for it?

UPDATE: What is "conservative" about someone who supports a system that allows this to happen?

"Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night."

Steve Benen:
One of the few certainties is that today, tonight, and early tomorrow will be dizzying. As Walter Shapiro explained quite nicely, “Making sense of Tuesday’s orgy of primaries and caucuses in 24 states (plus American Samoa for the Democrats) will be like watching an old-fashioned pinball game from inside the machine. Lights will be flashing, balls will be whizzing, bumpers will be bouncing, sirens will be screaming, and near-incomprehensible numbers will be exploding on the scoreboard.”

UPDATE: And Attaturk commemorates This Day In Wankery.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Digital Pamphleteers

This is interesting but, alas Freewheel - no Scarlet Johansson!

He reads a lot of stuff so I don't have to.....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A new day coming....?

This is all over the web and I'm not gonna be left out:

Wow. Just - wow. I don't see how Hillary or The Mav can top this one. I also want to direct your attention to this post by one of my favorite bloggers, Barbara O'Brien, who writes The Mahablog. It includes this, and more:
Older people are more jaded, which is what happens to most of us who live past Youth. To paraphrase something someone said in an email, Obama’s “post-partisan” message works with Youth and not so much with DOFHs (i.e., DFHs who devolved into geezers) because we geezers lived through the political ugliness of the 1980s and 1990s, whereas younger voters either don’t comprehend how bad it was or believe that Obama can somehow bring it to an end.

I don’t think Obama can bring it to an end. However, all things that had a beginning will also have an end, including the whackjob Right’s dominance of politics. And I think what can end it, or at least chase it into the shadows for a couple of decades, is an overwhelming crush of public opinion against it. And if the young folks can lead us to that, good for them. I’ll follow.
So you should definitely read the whole thing yourself.

And Glory Hallelujah, Praise God, and Pass the Butter, this from tristero made me want to stand up and cheer! He's talking about Mike Huckabee, but I think the same holds exactly true for the entire pseudo-religious whackjob faction that found a home in the Republican Party, including the representative of that faction that acosted Cynthia Clements outside her church which you can read about in this link that our friend Pam provided for us in her comments below. Thanks Pam!

So, are you going to watch the Super Bowl? I am, but only because I've been invited over to some friends' house to do it, and with them it will be fun. Speaking of butter, over at Firedoglake they're sharing Super Bowl party recipes which seems like a good idea, so I'm stealing it. Here's what I'll be contributing to tonight's repast:

Take a mess o' butter and a mess o' garlic and heat them up together in a big skillet with some anchovies (I sometimes use anchovy paste). Add about a pound of whole baby bella mushrooms, stems removed, and let them simmer for a bit. Add the juice of a couple of lemons, turn them out on a platter and watch them disappear. Hut, Hut!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Six more Friedman units?

Happy Groundhog Day, fellow blogmates! Me, I'm painting lawn furniture. What are you up to?

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's Friday AND payday! Whee!

Now I can afford to buy myself some cheap sunglasses.

With the passion of a convert

John Cole chides his ex-Party:
Bush, as one last middle finger to the GOP who has slavishly worshipped him, has offered up a budget chock full of election year treats for the already down on their luck Republicans
tsk, tsk!
All those years licking Bush’s boots, and this is what you get in return- attempts to cut Medicare during an economic downturn during an election year where Republicans poll lower than herpes and Ann Coulter is promising to campaign for Hillary over McCain. Anymore compassionate conservatism and the GOP will be relegated to permanent minority status, with nothing but a few religious nuts, a couple warmongers, and Hugh Hewitt.
And Bill Crawford and Mark Harden....
Wouldn’t that just be terrible?
Actually, it would be precisely what needs to happen- the GOP needs to be utterly destroyed, and that has been my goal for several years. I am really looking forward to slipping in that last knife.