Saturday, January 28, 2006

Saturday night filibuster thread

There are a lot of great diaries out there about the netroots' filibuster efforts. This post by Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake has been updated a number of times with useful links. See also this post by Georgia10 at Kos: And now, let's get to work. And finally, mcjoan's Kos diary, Senator Kennedy's Call to Arms is definitely worth a read...

Senator Kennedy just had a conference call with a number of bloggers to update us on his and Senator Kerry's filibuster effort, and to encourage the netroots and the grassroots to keep up our efforts. He's very excited by what he's seeing here and throughout the blogosphere, and gave a great pep talk.

He is encouraging you to contact your Democratic Senators, regardless of what they might have said so far, but specifically mentioned Senators Pryor, Lincoln, Cantwell, Murray, Baucus, Harkin, Levin, Bayh, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Lieberman. In addition, he said to keep the pressure on Republican Senators Snowe, Collins, Chaffee, and Stevens.

Senator Kennedy talked in particular about one thing that I think is critical to keep in mind as we approach our Senators, and for them to keep in mind as they are considering this vote. We need to overcome the media noise machine by letting our Senators know that in voting their conscience, and making it clear that they are voting on principle, on conscience, they will overcome the media noise machine calling them obstructionists. We can help them realize this by letting them know that we've got their backs. That they are voting our conscience as well, and that we will not forget their courage.

Click here for the rest. And let me know about any other good filibuster related links, and I can add them to this post throughout the evening.

Update: SusanD posted this link
That page is being updated with progress reports.

Also, you can sign a petition opposing Alito here:

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The "liberal media" strikes again

Just saw this on Oliver Willis, who notes:

They called him everything but a cheese eating surrender monkey. CNN: It's Fox, Only With Less O'Reilly.

Click here for Oliver Willis' post, where you can watch the video.

More on CNN's biased coverage of Kerry can be found at Media Matters, which also has links and suggestions for taking action. By the way, in case you haven't noticed it yet, I added a Media Matters newsbox to this site yesterday. (I did this after removing a number of the affiliate site links from the main blog and putting them on this page, along with links to Cafe Press stores with designs by Demetrius and jc.)

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Some diaries worth reading

I don't really have time to pull together a post with actual sentences and paragraphs, but I *do* have some links I would like to draw attention to. So let me just do that.

We OWN THE GOOD FIGHT! by susanhu

Steve Elmendorf is in need of a can of whoopass, if anyone has one handy...

The Fight is On: Hillary, Feinstein, Kerry for FILIBUSTER (ACTION!) by judybrowni

Dangerous New Wingnut Meme: Syria has Saddam's WMD! by soj

Dems want to have some Bible classes in schools...GOP cries foul. by madfloridian

From The American Prospect : Dems Don't Know Jack "A new analysis of Abramoff tribal money by a nonpartisan firm shows it's a Republican scandal."

Just like Howard Dean said.

Time for Us to Support Cegelis by Michael in Chicago

Help me get Ann Coulter Frogmarched by WhatAboutOsama

And please recommend this Kos diary by Andrew C. White:
Motion to Dismiss: Courts already ruled against Warrentless electronic surveillance - pt. 1

Update...Aldon Hynes just passed along this link
Ned Lamont wants to "rock the boat" by: spazeboy
Ned Lamont is considering a primary challenge to Joementum Lieberman. The diary at My Left Nutmeg that Aldon linked includes a picture of Aldon's adorable daughter Fiona with Ned Lamont.

Update by Corinne -- Dean supports the Alito filibuster "Asked about the possibility of a filibuster to stop the nomination, Dean said, 'we have to do whatever we have to do. I don't have a say in whether we have a filibuster but I am very supportive of what Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Kerry are doing.' "

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On our Howard Dean reunion

Unlike the blogger at Ohio 2nd, who wrote before the event "It will be nice to finally meet the person that inspired me to get back into politics.", this was not my first time meeting Howard Dean. I met him briefly at the first DemocracyFest in July 2004 and saw him again when he came to speak in Columbus in September of 2004. If you read my post the morning of Janurary 18, you saw that I was something *other* than cool, calm, and collected as I prepared to leave the house.

But right now, as I prepare to leave the house, I am shifting back and forth between exhaustion (I've been working a lot of hours lately), a sense of unreality, and semi-panic that I might forget something I really mean to bring--like the voice recorder or the camera. And all the while in the background there is another mental program running at a subconscious level. My brain is saying its own improvised rosary and it goes something like "Hail Mary, full of grace, pray for me that I don't swallow my own tongue if I get the opportunity to say a few words to Howard today..."

So, here's the scoop. The first time I met met Howard Dean in person, I gave him a bumper sticker that I had designed. It read "I am Howard Dean's Special Interest...and John Kerry's Probation Officer. (During Dean's campaign, "I am Howard Dean's special interest" had been one of the grassroots' slogans, and the second part referred to the fact that many of us really didn't consider ourselves Kerry *supporters*, but we were determined to stay on his case and make sure he kept his promise to fight for us.)

The bumper sticker went over really well. Howard Dean laughed out loud when he saw it--one of those laughs where he throws his head back. In fact, that turned out to be the moment that a local newspaper reporter snapped a picture of him, and I got to see that reaction shot in the paper the next morning.

When I saw Howard Dean again that September, he was doing a book signing. I had not yet bought a copy of "You Have the Power". I hadn't known about the book signing ahead of time, but didn't want to miss the opportunity to have that minute to talk to Howard while he was signing it. Mandy, one of our local DFA members was kind enough to lend me the $20 to cover the cost of the tiny hardcover book. When he signed the book, I had messed up what I was trying to say, switching some names around, and was a little embarrassed about that. But as I walked away from the table, I was disappointed to see that he had only signed his name, but there was no "To Renee". Dilemma--I was already feeling pretty darn awkward about this particular encounter, but, dammit, it isn't every day that I shell out $20 for such a tiny book. Finally, I made up my mind that I could joke about that as something we have in common--Howard Dean is, of course, known for his frugality. So the plan in my mind was to walk back to Howard, smile, and say that I don't normally pay this much for a book, "Because I'm frugal, like you", so could you please add "To Renee" to this.

But that's not now it came out when I said it. What came out was, "because I'm cheap, like you." So now you understand why I was worried about saying something foolish.

I managed to embarrass myself with Mary Jo Kilroy instead of Howard, introducing her as Mary Jo Pryce to the other bloggers. Pryce is her opponent, and I wanted to say who she was running against. As I started the sentence, the name was not coming to me, but it popped into my brain and rolled right off my tongue right after I said the words "This is Mary Jo--" Sigh.

Things went better when we got to see Howard Dean. When he walked up to the bloggers' table, I gave him a hug, which he graciously accepted, even if he seemed a bit surprised. He said something along the lines of "this is like a reunion here!" One of the few parts of the day I didn't record, and neither Demetrius nor myself can remember quite what he said.

But then I pulled out the copy of the Blue State Brothers picture that I'd brought to give him.

We didn't have a chance to have a poster made or anything, so we just printed it out at home, and I found a plastic sleeve to put it in so it wouldn't get smeared or crumpled up. I said, "I thought we needed to have something more up to date to replace Soylent Dean."

He looked at it and *laughed*. "This is great! (to Demetrius) How did you do this?"

Since the picture is of both Howard and Jim, I said, " you'll have to share this with your brother", and Howard responded with "I'm going to give this to my *Mom*!" He handed the picture to his aide, admonishing, "Don't you dare lose this!"

So it was very cool to see him show that kind of genuine appreciation and enjoyment, and I'm really glad Demetrius was able to make it and actually see that reaction.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday night open thread

"Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars, and so on - while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. Conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons."

-Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Dolphin Research Center
The Dolphin Institute

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The Honest Leadership Act Ad

Thank you Linda in Cincinnati for posting this link at the BBB.

Was watching tv and this INCREDIBLE ad came on.

You have to see it to believe it.


I agree, it is. It's like Howard Dean's speech that I posted this morning, except in one minute. With pictures.

What time is it in America?
What time is it when oil company lobbyists sit at the White House helping write their own tax breaks, while you stand at the gas pump paying $40 to fill your tank?
What time is it when Republican leaders are indicted for money laundering, bribery, and obstruction of justice, while political friends get appointed to run life or death agencies?
What time is it when the president gives away billions to the drug companies while cutting health care for our seniors?
What time is it? Time for a change!
The Honest Leadership Act
To stop the abuse of power
End secret meetings with lobbyists
Ban gifts and trips for Congress
To improve the state of our nation, we must improve the state of our leadership.
The Honest Leadership Act: common sense reforms, because it's time for a change.

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Another filibuster post

Figured this should get some front page attention, so here you go. There is another diary by judybrowni The Fight is On: Hillary, Feinstein, Kerry for FILIBUSTER (ACTION!). If you're following the filibuster issue, you should definitely check it out. I admire judybrowni and her ability to keep writing these action item diaries with her enthusism and optimism unabated.

Can you tell that I'm not "there" as far as the energy and optimism thing?

And this post by John at AMERICAblog--from what I hear, he generally knows what he's talking about--doesn't exactly have me breaking out in a Snoopy dance of optimism.

The Republicans want the Alito vote on Tuesday, conveniently right before the State of the Union.

As for the filibuster, here are my thoughts.

I support a filibuster of Alito IF - IF, IF, IF, IF, IF - the multi-million dollar liberal non-profits and the Democratic and moderate Republican Senators organize a true CAMPAIGN to convince the American public that a filibuster is necessary and good.

To date, I haven't seen that campaign.

So, my question is, who are these groups? It seems like we should be working on *them* as well, and not just on the senators who might not support the filibuster.

More diaries on the subject:
Filibuster Alito by John Kerry
The veto-Alito strategy. Frist must have 60 'Yes' votes by joan reports

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Dean Endorses DNC Nomination Calendar Changes

From The Hotline: National Journal's blog

In a letter sent last night to the two co-chairs of the DNC's rules of bylaws committee, DNC chairman Howard Dean for the first time formally endorsed proposed changes to the party's nomination calendar.

Dean tells committee chairs Alexis Herman and Jim Roosevelt that the commission "carried out its work in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, soliciting and listening to a broad range of opinions about the process."

"I am pleased that the Commission has made recommendations that seek to broaden participation and increase diversity in the early stages of the presidential nominating process. Indeed, I am mindful that over the years that Party has instituted reforms at making our nomination process fairer, more representative and more effective for both our presidential candidates and the voters."

Dean says the recommendations are "positive step" in that direction.

In December the commission recommended adding at least one caucus between IA and NH and at least one after. The commission urged the rules and bylaws committee to add incentives for states to hold their delegate selection contests later in the year. It also formally recognized IA 's and NH's "first in the nation" primary status.

The NH Democrats weren't happy, saying that another delegate event before its primary did little to enhance diversity and a whole lot to punish civic-minded NH voters. They also argued the changes would front-load the calendar.

However, a majority of commission members were convinced by arguments suggesting that adding as few as two new caucuses or primaries could add both regional and ethnic diversity to the pool of base voters who tend to winnow the early primary field. Also, DNCers with long-standing resentment against NH and IA found a venue to exercise their frustration.

Dean's endorsement signals that he was not swayed by NH's vociferous objections.

The rules and bylaws committee meets early this spring to discuss the proposal. The full DNC membership has the final say in April. If the DNC adds an additional caucus before NH, NH's Sec/State has promised to act to make sure NH's status is maintained. And NH's legislature is preparing to give him that authority.

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Howard Dean's Honesty in Government Speech, 1/18/06

When I got the email from Tim Tagaris inviting me to be one of the bloggers at Howard Dean's January 18 events in Columbus, I was, of course, thrilled to have the opportunity. I was also in the middle of a very busy time, so I have struggled to make good on my part of the deal as far as reporting on the events. The evening of the 18th, after coming home from teaching my night class, I stayed up and transcribed Howard Dean's afternoon speech to Democracy Bond holders in Ohio. The next day, in an open thread, I wrote up Howard's response to a question about the Alito nomination.

This week, a my daytime temp project has ended, allowing me a bit more time to blog (when I'm not working on finding work to replace that income stream). But before I could get back to writing up Howard's visit to Columbus, that very busy party chair of ours went on the Randi Rhodes radio show, and then on The Today Show. I made the choice to write up those transcripts in a timely manner before getting back to the January 18 Columbus events. This morning, I transcribed the audio I recorded at Howard Dean's speech at the Ohio Statehouse. I know this is pretty far after the fact, but I wrote it up in case anyone would find a record of what Howard Dean said here worth having. Just for myself, I'm glad that I went back to listen to what Howard said, especially after hearing that one of the Democratic candidates for governor in Ohio, was "insulted" by Howard Dean's visit to our state. He certainly wasn't "picking on" Ohio in any way. Below, you can see a picture of Howard Dean signing the Honesty in Government pledge, followed by my transcript of that speech. (There were a few points where I couldn't make out words, and anywhere you see ... that's what happened.)

Thank you very much for inviting me here. I'm very proud to be up here with your legislative leadership who, in Ohio, if they do what I think they're going to do, are going to the the majority in the Senate and the majority in the House next go around. The truth is that we do have a real problem of corruption in this country and, of course, in this state, which has become now the center of some of the Republican corruption scandals. And one of the things we're going to do today is to sign a petition--We hope to get a million signatures, standing up and... We want real change, and the Democratic party is going to be the agent of real change. So I just want to read a few pieces of this petition, because I think it speaks very well to what this is about.

Our demands are simple. We want a truly democratic government served by elected representatives who uphold the highest standards of honesty and integrity. We want legislators that are models of integrity for our children. We want sweeping reform to return our government to its basic responsibility, which is to serve all Americans.

The history of America tells a story of expanding democracy, expanding opportunity, and accountable governance. Throughout our history, the American people have demanded that their government reflects our nation's highest ideals or openness and honesty, transparency and integrity, and a commitment that the interests of the American people, not the special interests which we have been protecting in Ohio and in Washington. This cycle of corruption must be broken, and we will break it. The cost of corruption is enormous. It's not just the tens of millions of dollars that the Ohioans have lost in pension fund scandals. It is the bill that's causing every senior citizen now to struggle in getting help for their pharmaceutical needs. When that bill was passed, it was written for the drug companies and the insurance companies, because of the corruption in Washington in the Republican caucus. That bill was written to benefit the insurance industry and the drug companies, and so costs have NOT come down for seniors, and seniors can't figure out how to make this system work. That is the cause of corruption, not just simply lobbyists passing around money on K Street. It hits home to every senior citizen in America.

Gas prices. While gas prices were three dollars and 2.50 a gallon, our taxpayers money, OUR money was being shoveled out the door by a corrupt Republican Congress, for tax credits for Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and other oil companies. They'd already made 9 billion dollars in a single quarter, yet *our* taxpayers payed them another 3 billion courtesy of corruption in Congress. Bridges to nowhere, 450 million dollars to an island with a population of 50 people in Alaska because of corruption that goes on in the Appropriations Committee in the halls of Congress. Those are real costs, can you imagine what 450 million dollars could do in the state of Ohio? First of all, it could bail out your pension plans which were looted by Republicans. The cost of corruption is real in Ohio, and it's real to Americans.

Speaking of corruption, there are other forms of corruption as well. It is corrupt to suppress Americans' votes. And the bill that was passed by the Senate and is now in the House is also part of the culture of corruption. We want every American and every Ohioan to be able to vote. I always said when I was governor that *everybody* was my boss. If you were a Republican and you voted against me, you were still my boss, because you were part of the hiring committee. The right wing Republicans in this state and elsewhere in America believe that your vote ought not to count unless you vote for a Republican. We believe that every American vote ought to count, because that's what makes this country great. We are tired of seeing our country dragged down by folks that are more interested in their own power than they are in what's good for the country.

I'd like to be very specific about what's going to be unveiled in Washington this afternoon by leader Pelosi and leader Reid. First of all, we're going to close the revolving door between Congress and lobbyists by doubling the time that you have to serve outside Washington before you can come to work as a lobbyist. Right now, it takes a year, when you leave Congress, a year later you can go to work as a Washington lobbyist. We're saying, it's going to be two years.

Secondly, we will publicly require disclosure of all lobbyist activities, including any contributions they've ever made to any campaign.

Third, a total ban on lobbyists' travel and gifts to any member of Congress. These people are the biggest propagandists--I saw the Speaker yesterday talking about, "Well, we want to make sure $20 t-shirts can still be given by high school students. Those are not registered lobbyists. The high school kids will still be able to give t-shirts away to good legislators and good representatives, but NOT ONE DIME to members of Congress, and particularly the corrupt Republican caucus.

We're going to replace things like the K-Street Project, where Tom DeLay, and Roy Blunt, and Rick Santorum and others told lobby firms that they'd better hire Republicans in order to do business. That is wrong, and we're not going to do that any more when the Democrats take over in 2006.

Fifth, the head of PhRMA, the pharmaceutical organization, was a chairman of the campaign that regulated their activities. Negotiating for his job with PhRMA while he served in Congress. That is going to be gone--every member who's negotiating for a job from now on will have to fully disclose negotiations before they vote on any legislation.

They know what the rules are, and the rules are fairly common in all states. I know what the rules are--I served in our legislature, and I served as Governor and Lieutentant Governor for 12 years. In Congress, they now sneak provisions in that have not been voted on by members of Congress, *after* the fact, and the members that voted on them don't even know they're there. That is ultimate corruption--sneaking stuff in that hasn't even been voted on and having it become law. That is going to end as well when the Democrats take over.

And there will be zero tolerance for contract cheaters. We will not tolerate enormous no-bid contracts. We will put people in office who actually respect the voters (applause drowned out the end of this sentence).

Finally, where public safety is involved, we are going to *demand* an extra level of scrutiny so that that person must have credentials for the job. No more Arabian horse minders for FEMA. Republicans, of course, are great propagandists. They came out with a bill yesterday. Of course it doesn't do anything.

So let me just review for you what the differences are between the Democratic approach and the Republican approach. We believe that you ought not to be able to trade jobs for access, which is what the K Street project is. The Republicans do *nothing* about that. We believe there ought to be full lobbyist disclosure and enforcement on their behavior; the Republicans do nothing about that. We believe there ought to be full disclosure of job negotions by members of Congress and senior congressional employees and executive branch officials when they're seeking outside jobs; the Republicans do nothing about that.

We believe they ought not to stick ... provisions in there that have not been voted on, or seen by the Congress committee; the Republicans do nothing about that. We believe there ought to be increased oversight and accountability through new disclosure, aggressive contract competition and examination of no-bid contracts when they are allowed at all: the Republicans do nothing about that. And we require that appointees in public safety positions be qualified for the job, their position is " a heck of a job, Brownie!" (Laughter)

We simply want honesty back in our country. We want honesty in the voting booth, so that every American knows that their vote counts (applause). We want honesty back in Congress, and these rules will apply to everybody--Democrats and Republicans alike. We need a real change in this country. The Democratic party is prepared to offer this country and this state a real change. Thanks very much. (Loud applause and cheering.)

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2006 State of the Nation

Teri Mills is a longtime Democracy For America community member. Her guest column on health care appears on Blog for America on Fridays and she blogs at

Health care spending in the United States increased 7.9 percent to nearly $1.9 trillion in 2004. Once again wage growth fell behind and health care now makes up 16 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. The money spent on health care for each individual person living in America jumped from $5,670 in 2003 to $6,280 in 2004.

Our president has taken notice and ways to curb these costs will be a central theme during his State of the Nation address on January 31st. Apparently most of his proposals are ones we have heard in the past and range from raising the amount allowed to accumulate in existing health savings accounts; offering additional tax breaks for those who purchase private insurance on their own; establishing more portability for health insurance when people change jobs; and providing easier access to information regarding physician pricing and quality. What a progressive activist might wonder is do any of these suggestions actually save the average American worker any money? Will these proposals make it easier for our citizens to access and afford the existing health care system?

Senator Kennedy (D-MA) believes the changes proposed by Bush will worsen our health care crisis because they will actually transfer much of the cost on to the consumer. Paul Krugman believes our system needs an overhaul and more money must be dedicated to prevention. In an interview to Newsweek magazine, HHS Mike Leavitt also claims we need to focus on a prevention oriented society.

What suggestions do you have for fixing our health care crisis? You already know one of mine:

Teri Mills, RN, MS, ANP
Democracy for Oregon

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dean on The Today Show: Transcript

Couric: Howard Dean is chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Governor Dean, good morning.

Dean: Good morning, Katie.

Couric: Obviously, as we just heard in Kelly O'Donnell's report, that this week the Bush administration has been on the offensive defending what it now terms "a terrorist surveillance program" at every opportunity. And about half of Americans support the efforts to listen in on conversations between Al Qaeda suspects and those in the United States. If this potentially stops another terrorist attack like September 11, why not give the White House some latitude on this?

Dean: Democrats support the idea that we ought to spy on terrorists, and we support the idear that we need to eavesdrop from time to time. But we also believe that the president ought to obey the law. The law says that if you have an emergency reason to spy on Americans, that you can go ahead and do it, but you've got to justify it with the court afterwards. We don't think that this president, who has a habit of putting himself above the law ought to be able to do this when he's spying on Americans. This is not simply listening in to al Qaeda, it's poking around into people's private lives in order to see if they're doing anything wrong.

Couric: Have you seen any evidence that this is happening? That the administration is somehow "poking into the private lives of Americans"?

Dean: Of course they are. You can't tell who's a terrorist and who's not until you tap their phone. So we've always had, for many, many, many hundreds of years in this country, the idea that the courts had to give some prior justification in order to do this. Now, the *law* says, if the president feels like he can't have prior justification, go ahead and do it anyway, but just go to the court after the fact. So the president--I don't *know* why the president's doing this. We all believe that we ought to be spying on al Qaeda, but we don't believe that you ought to spy on American citizens without some kind of third party looking at this. That's what makes the difference between America and other countries, like Iran, where the government can do anything they damn well please. We need to obey the law.

The other issue is, the president is breaking the law. There's no need for it. We all support what the president's trying to do in terms of fighting al Qaeda, but it's a *bad* example for our kids for the president to *insist* that it's okay for him to break the law. That is not right.

Couric: At the same time, obviously perception is everything and some of your opponents believe this is yet another example showing the Democrats are soft on defense and are not as vigilent as they should be in the war against terrorism. Why has this become such a poisonous, partisan issue? In other words, no one wants to see another terrorist attack, so why can't both sides get together and figure this out instead of, you know, throwing mud at each other on a daily basis. Don't you think the American people are tired of that?

Dean: We don't think insisting that the president obey the law is throwing mud, first of all. And secondly, the president isn't interested in hearing from anybody else. He's not only not interested in hearing from Democrats--well, I can understand that, we're the opposition party. He's not interested in hearing from his own military. He has made a gross misjudgement in Iraq because he wouldn't listen to General Shinseki and other military people who told him to do this differently. Wouldn't even listen to his own Secretary of State Colin Powell. This is a headstrong president, who thinks he's above the law. We don't think that's right. We think we ought to be tough on defense--I tell you one thing, if we get back in power, we're going to make a real effort to go get Osama Bin Laden. We're not going to let him lollygag around for four years after the September 11th attack. And we're also going to equip our troops with the body armor they deserve in order to fight this war. We need to do a better job on defense than this President is doing.

Couric: Well, you know a lot of people say the Democratic party at this point in time criticizes all and literally stands for nothing. Even Jamens Carville and Paul Begala, I mean, you can't find two more hardcore Democrats, Governor Dean, than that, in their book "Take it Back" wrote that the Democratic party needs a backbone and a spinal transplant. So, what do you think, in thirty seconds, the Democratic party stands for at this point in time?

Dean: One, American jobs that will stay in America using energy independence to generate those jobs. Two, a strong national defense based on telling the truth to our citizens, our soldiers and our allies. Three, honesty and integrity to be restored to government. Four, a health care system that works for everybody just like they have 36 in other countries. And five, a strong public education system so we can have optimism and opportunity back in America.

Couric: Meanwhile, and thank you for staying within the thirty second time frame, a new CNN/USA Today Gallup poll shows 51% of registered voters said they would *definitely* not vote for Senator Hillary Clinton for President if she runs in 2008. She is the frontrunner among Democrats. Is that bad news in your view?

Dean: Right now Senator Hillary Clinton wants to make sure that 51% of the people vote for her for New York senator, and I'm sure she's not thinking about the presidency right now. I don't comment on '08, I've got to be the referee in that one on the Democratic side before we get to the general election.

Couric: What about telling a Black congregation in Harlem that she thought Congress was being run like a plantation? What was your reaction to that comment--certainly much has been made of it.

Dean: That was something Newt Gingrich had also said in 1994 and it was also on CNN a year before. But the truth is the president and the Republicans *are* abusing their power in Congress. Just the other day, they stuck something in that gave HMO's 22-billion dollars of taxpayers' money. They stuck it in in the middle of the night. Nobody knew anything about it and it passed because nobody knew it was there. That is *not* the way to run Congress. We ought to have a real democracy in Congress where both sides get listened to and that is not the way it is right now. The other thing is the corruption scandals in Congress. Tom DeLay and all these folks involved in getting money, all of them are Republicans, from Jack Abramoff. We need a real--

Couric: Heeey! Democrats took money from Jack Abramoff too, Mr. Dean!

Dean: That is *absolutely* false. That *did not* happen. Not one *dime* of Jack Abramoff went to any Democrat in Congress.

Couric: Let me tell you, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Abramoff and his assodiates gave 3 million dollars to Republicans and 1.5 million dollars to Democrats according to Senate minority leader Harry Reid.

Dean: Katie, *not one dime* of Jack Abramoff's money ever went to any Democrat. We can show you the FEC reports. We would be happy to do it. There is a lot of stuff in the press that the Republican National Committee has been spinning that this is a bipartisan scandal. It is a *Republican* finance scandal. Not one dime of money from Jack Abramoff ever went to any Democrat, not one dime!

Couric: Well, we'll obviously have to look into that and clarify that for our viewers at a later date. Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Dean, Governor Dean, thanks so much for talking with us.

Dean: Thanks very much.

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Howard Dean on The Today Show

As many in the blogosphere now know, Howard Dean was interviewed by Katie Couric on The Today Show this morning.

Here's a link to the post "DNC Chairman Howard Dean on NBC Today Show"

This morning, DNC Chairman Howard Dean sat down with NBC's Katie Couric on the Today Show to discuss several important issues facing the American people and their priorities.
Read the rest of the post here.

I just finished watching the video of the interview. It sure was nice of Ken Melhman to write up those questions ahead of time for Katie. That must save her a lot of needless time and effort. I hope she wrote him a nice thank-you note.

Corinne notes that Think Progress also has the video, which will be handy for people who don't get a chance to watch it until later--I don't know how long the video at MSNBC will stay up. You need Quicktime to watch it. Also from Think Progress:
Katie then cited a Center for Responsive Politics study as her evidence, but a look at CRP's website (here and here) show that Democrats accepted no money from Abramoff.

See also: Today Show's Katie Couric slanders Democrats by CarolynC967
For the second time in a week, Katie Couric illustrates the right-wing bias in the media. This AM in her interview with Howard Dean, she adamantly repeated Rove & Co.'s assertion that Democrats as well as Republicans have taken Abramoff money. When Dean protested, she got tense and said it would have to be looked into and shared with all the Today Show viewers.
Write to Today and tell them that they need to do that, fairly and objectively, and present the truth on the air, along with her retraction and apology for slandering all the Democrats with charges of corruption. Contact her at

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The Alito 8

I think this was mentioned in the comments yesterday but the situation regarding Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court is serious to the point where I think it warrants front-page treatment.

Bob Fertik at has a list of eight Democratic senators who he suspects are not supporting a filibuster. On Tuesday, Harry Reid indicated in a meeting with progressive lobbyists that he had nearly 44 votes against Alito but Alito would still be confirmed 56-44. As Fertik says, "If Reid has nearly 44 votes against Alito, every one of those Senators should support a filibuster or their vote against Alito is meaningless."

Reid also said he will not pressure Democratic Senators on Alito because it's a "conscience vote."

Fertik says, "Reid would not name the "Alito 8" who are blocking a Democratic filibuster - so we need to identify them and tell them not to betray the Democrats who funded them and voted for them. If Democrats want our support to win in 2006, we need their support now: 888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641. Here is the directory for Congress.

The most likely suspects are the "Red State" Democrats:

Tom Carper (DE)
Kent Conrad (ND)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Tim Johnson (SD)
Mary Landrieu (LA) - who has already publicly spoken out against a filibuster.
Blanche Lincoln (AR)
Mark Pryor (AR)

It takes just 1 Senator to start the filibuster and 41 to vote against cloture. Surely Reid can guarantee 41 votes. And if John Kerry, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh or Russ Feingold plan to run for president, Fertik asks how can you lead the party if you can't lead a filibuster?

The Rude Pundit asks an even better question: "So here's the question that the Rude Pundit has for Senators Daniel Akaka, Max Baucus, Joe Biden, Robert Byrd, Kent Conrad, Tom Harkin, Jim Jeffords, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Frank Lautenberg, Patrick Leahy, Carl Levin, Joe Lieberman, Barbara Mikulski, Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller, and Paul Sarbanes, who were there then and are there now: Do you wish you had filibustered Clarence Thomas now? Do you wish you had done everything you could even against the slim majority that supported Thomas?"

Personally, my greatest concern once this is over is the potentially large negative impact the weak Democratic response to Alito's confirmation will have on Howard's 50-state strategy. In the comments over at Kos and other blogs, I've seen people threatening to cancel their Democracy Bonds and refuse to donate to the DNC ever again if the Democrats fold like a cheap tent on the filibuster.

Howard is the most visible Democrat: he is out front and center raising money for the state parties and I am greatly concerned that he is going to absorb a lot of heat for an outcome that is not within his control.

Could this from David Neiwert be the tip of the iceberg?

I broke my longstanding policy of not donating money to political parties last fall when the folks from the DNC called and asked for money to help gird them for the upcoming fights over judicial seats. I was assured that indeed they would fight to keep right-wing extremists off the Supreme Court.

And now, faced with a clear-cut extremist (and dissembler) who is about to not only overturn the right to obtain an abortion, but also to pave the path for an imperial executive branch with limitless powers ... nothing.

I'm not terribly inclined, as my readers know, to use profanity in my posts. But if the Democratic Party wants any more of my money, they can just go fuck themselves.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"Head performance" revisited

I'm feeling the need for a bit of blog "sorbet" to cleanse the palette in between political crises. How about some more pictures of Oolong displaying his famous "head performance" skills?

Good night, everybody. Sweet ones.

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Land of the free and home of the brave?

A post from SusanD

In about two weeks this will be coming up for a vote:

House Report 109-333-USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005.

Just like Hitler, King George wants to empower the SS in our country.

Section 605 reads "There is hereby established and created a permanent police force, to be known as the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division."

These new federal uniformed police will be empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony".

In Googling this I found that these SS would be empowered to arrest people who "might" disrupt an event.

I don't know about you, but this information scares me to death. We must not let this law pass, or we will no longer breathe free in our own country.

I know, it's bad news piled on bad news, but we cannot sit by and let this happen without resistance.


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DemocracyChat Today

Quiet afternoon here, but I wanted to pass this along...

It's today Wednesday, January 25th from 3:00 to 3:35 PM EST at

Kerbel is the writer and editor of GET THIS PARTY STARTED is an insightful blueprint for progressive change that brings together voices from inside and outside the Beltway on how to fight back and regain momentum. The book features an all-star team of academics and writers, such as best-selling author and activist Jim Wallis, renown linguist George Lakoff, MyDD blogger Chris Bowers, Center For American Progress CEO, John Podesta and former Dean internet organizing director, Zephyr Teachout, among many notable participants. Howard Dean provides the foreword to the book.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Participants in the chat will have a chance to ask the guest a question or give comment, after the chat moderator's interview with the guest (about 10-15 minutes). In order to do this in an orderly way, that is fair to the guest and the other participants, we ask that you send Kayla a PM (Private Message) during the interview portion by double clicking her name (on the right of your screen). Let her know as soon as possible that you have a question or comment. We will call on as many people as we can in order, in the time we have available. Each person must limit their question or comment to one of either. If possible, have your question typed out when come to you so that we can save time. This way you can click "Send" and get your question asked very quickly.

Our purpose with these requests is to help run the chat run smoothly with our guest and other particpants, so this can be an enjoyable experience for everyone. Thank you for your interest and participation.

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Live Blogging the Alito Vote

Rather than putting up a new thread, I've just changed the title of this one--the notice from Blogger can be found at the bottom of this post. But I wanted to make front page mention of this diary at Kos:

Live blogging Alito vote

Here's the C-SPAN link to the votes so far. And here's the C-SPAN link to watch the proceedings live.

And here's what Howard Dean had to say, just yesterday... has a post called "Governor Dean: Alito Not Fit for Supreme Court" that's worth checking out...

"Because Judge Alito simply must not be allowed to use a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court to advance that agenda, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee stood together to protect Americans' individual rights and freedoms in voting against this nomination... When the full Senate votes on this nomination, Judge Alito should be rejected."

Alito Debate Thread by georgia10

I will add new relevant links if I find any.
FYI from Blogger:
We'll be taking Blogger down on Wednesday the 25th at 4pm PST to fix a bit of a switch that's gone wonky on us. The outage should last about 15 minutes. and Blog*Spot blogs will be inaccessible during this time.

This repair will fix the problem that caused the brief outage last Friday night. We're also using this down time as an opportunity to tune our databases for more efficient spam catching and deletion.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Howard Dean on the Randi Rhodes Show

The following is a transcript of Howard Dean's appearance on the Randi Rhodes Show yesterday, January 23. You can listen to it on the Randi Rhodes Archives, in the second half of the show.

Also, check out Governor Dean: Alito Not Fit for Supreme Court, posted at the DNC web site.
Randi started the interview by saying "We've been playing your clip over and over again for like the last week, where you succinctly said 'There is no Abramoff Democratic money. He gave no money to Democrats.' She goes on to say that people in the media have continued to try to portray the Abramoff scandal as bipartisan in nature, and that Tim Russert had put up a pie chart saying that 34% of the money had gone to Democrats.

Howard: Well, you know, I like Tim Russert, but that's just not true.

Randi: I know that's not true.

Howard: The truth of the matter is, this is a Republican finance scandal. Exclusively. There is nobody implicated in this except for Republicans. Not one.

Randi: Do you know how he had to couch it to get away with this kind of lying--

Howard: You know, I'm surprised that Tim would do this because I know Tim and he's an ethical person, but that's just not true. You know, these guys have got to get off their butts and look at those numbers. Here's the deal, Randi, *not one nickel* from Abramoff ever went to a Democrat. Not one nickel, every dime of it went to Republicans. Secondly, there's no evidence whatsoever that any money was *directed* by Abramoff to any Democrat. So this is just crap, and it's the RNC, and it's disappointing at this late date after all this corruption exposed on the Republican side, that the mainstream press would fall for this. They've got to do better than this.

Randi: Well, you know, the mainstream press is cooked. Do you understand, they're as coroprate as anybody, and corporatism has--

Howard: --yeah, but I think Russert's a good guy. I really do.

Randi: Yeah, I like to think he's a decent guy from upstate New York too, I really do. You know, like how he honors his father, you see there's a certain warmness about him. But his willingness to lie was apparent to me on Sunday. Here's how he said it, Senator Reid, Senator Kennedy, Patty Murray, and a lot of prominent Democrats received money from--now check out what he had to say--from associate, clients of Jack Abramoff. Two to one Republican, but it's not fair to say that just Republicans took money.

Howard: Well, no! That's completely untrue. That's completely untrue and it's incredibly disappointing.

Randi: Isn't it? I'm telling you, I am grossed out by the way that they add words, and add clients, and add associates of--

Howard: Well, I'm disappointed with Tim. The truth is, what he said was false, and, you know, he's got to do better. He's my friend, but he's got to do better. It's just simply false.

Randi: Well, he asked it to Begala, who immediately said, it's misleading, this is a Republican scandal, Mr. Abramoff is a movement partisan Republican. There is no evidence in all the indictments, in all the emails, in all of the investigation that any of the money that went to Democrats from Indian tribes was directed by Abramoff. And then he neglects to say that not one Democrat received one dime from Jack Abramoff. But it is upsetting--it's really upsetting, and then people start calling and saying "Oh, you're lying!" No, I'm not lying--they're misrepresenting this entire thing. And for Mary Matalin to sit there and say--

Howard: Well, she's a propagandist, Randi, I mean, those folks do propaganda. These are the best propagandists since Vladimir Lenin--you can't believe a word they say. And it's a shame, because, you know, there were good Republicans in this country at one time.

Randi: Yes there were, I agree.

Howard: There still are a few, but they don't vote Republican any more.

Randi: No they don't. They vote for something other than THE Republic. They vote against this country. They vote against Americans constantly. (I think Randi and Howard and talking about entirely different groups here.) I'm sitting here explaining why the prescription drug benefit was SO bad. It's because the pharmaceutical companies got to write it!

Howard: And that's the danger of all this. What Abramoff and the Bush folks did was buy their way in so that they could do things--the Medicare bill wasn't for old people, it was for pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Because that's the way the Bush people are; they don't care about ordinary Americans--

Randi: And who wrote the bankruptcy bill?

Howard: Well, it certainly wasn't ordinary people who are struggling with their credit card bills--

Randi: It was the credit card companies. And who's writing all this legislation? It's special interests that pay--you know, I expect to see a backlash *from* CEOs at this point. Their going broke, people are losing their jobs in droves, and the CEOs are starting to make a little bit of noise at least, that they're being shaken down by this party. That not only do you have to give campaign contributions, but since there's a limit, they now have to buy advocacy ads. They have to support the Swiftboat ads. They have to do "Citizens for a More Just America", name it, and then fund it, and then advertise for this candidate or that candidate. I mean, this is crazy! And these CEOs are sick and tired of watching their employees lose their jobs in thousands at a time. Maybe they will say, "Enough already! We'll take our chances with a Democratic congress. This K Street Project, it was a nice idea, we've given you enough money. You guys have been exposed, you're worthless to us now, we're walking away." If not for principle and character, at least because it's not effective any more. The jig is up!

Howard: I think that's right. I would hope that Americans would be disappointed enough in these folks--but you know, we've got to have a positive agenda. And basically here it is...

First, the Democrats will restore honesty in government. You can't trust the Republicans. They can't balance the budget, they can't manage the finances of this country, they can't manage Iraq, they couldn't manage Katrina. It's time to have honesty in government with people we can trust again.

Randi: They can't tell the truth. They absolutely can't tell the truth. Did you see the president today?

Howard: No, I did not.

Randi: You didn't miss a thing. Listen to how odd this is. Two and one half hours, he was on the TV today at the University of Kansas, and he was selling his lawless, warrantless search idea--

Howard: He was selling what?

Randi: His warrantless spying on Americans.

Howard: Oh, right.

Randi: And, of course, Arlen Specter has said, "No, I don't think so." Mccain has said, "I don't see where there's authority to do this. I think it's illegal." You know, you've had many Republicans come forward and say--even *Brownback from Kansas*! So it was weird that it was in Kansas--

Howard: You know, Randi, what's a little more scary even than this? Over the weekend, there was a front page article in a lot of papers that said that they were trying now to try to get Google to let them know whatever you looked at. Supposedly it was about a child porn investigation, but the way the government wants it is that whatever you looked at, they get to see. This is the library provision of the Patriot Act on steroids. Whatever you looked at, they get to find out what you're looking at. It really does begin to look like McCarthyism and the Nixon-Agnew regime. They're using the IRS, for example, to persecute people out west who've given sermons against the war, saying that's partisan. Yet, you can go into a church and hear the priest say that it's a mortal sin to vote for John Kerry. I mean, this is *very* frightening what they're doing. It's bad for the country, and they're going to take the country down if they're allowed to continue in this way, and we're not going to put up with it.

Randi: Well, the Google story I had here on Friday, and we did a little bit on it today. But what's really creepy is how many emails I got from friends who switched their internet providers because Microsoft and Yahoo and AOL all said that they *did* turn over document.

Howard: That's right.

Randi: So the damage is done. And if they're looking for pornography, and child porn--they're just saying they want a million random web addresses, and records of web searches for an unspecified one week period.

Howard: So, let them get rid of the child pornographers, we don't like them. But let's not--whatever search you make. 'Cause what's going to happen, we'll we've seen what's going to happen. They've already started eavesdropping on people they don't agree with--

Randi: My phone clicks like crazy, I don't know about yours (Howard laughs). You know, I think I'm paranoid sometimes, and then I think just because somebody's tapping my phone doesn't mean I shouldn't be paranoid.

Howard: They went after some group that was protesting something, that wasn't doing anything, and it was sort of a joke--

Randi: The Lakeworth Quakers?

Howard: I don't know if it was the Quakers or what, but I mean this is serious stuff, and they're violating the Constitution and they're breaking the law. You know, the president could defend America, if he felt he had to listen in to a terrorist thing, without getting a warrant. That's legal, if he goes and gets a warrant after the fact. So this is just arrogance. Why not obey the law? Nobody objects to wiretapping terrorists, why not obey the law? But the president's refused to do that.

Randi: Which is--I was going to ask you, what do you think the president's motivation is. I mean everybody's briefed up, we all understand that the FISA court is a rubber stamp, if he asks, he'll get it. If he has a need for speed he can ask for it three days after, once he does whatever he wants to do. But why won't he leave a paper trail?

Howard: Because this president, and this Republican party, are plain arrogant. They think that the laws that are made for America are not made for anybody else. (Think he meant to say "not made for them" or "are made for everybody else".) And that's why there's a corruption scandal...they're just like crooks. Well, they are crooks, I guess. They never think they're going to be the ones to get caught. Duke Cunningham...imagine! What did he think was going to happen on a congressman's salary when he was driving around in a yacht and a Rolls Royce?

Randi: I want to know what a Louis Philippe toilet feels like.

Howard: What?!

Randi: I want to know what a Louis Philippe toilet feels like. (Howard laughs.) He apparently had one--I don't even know what that is!

Howard: Oh, god...

Randi: I'm just from Brooklyn, I don't know. All right, well stay in touch with me, and I just want to play you this sound bite, and I want you to remember this sound bite, and I want you to make commercials about this sound bite. I'm giving money like crazy, and I want to see something on the TV. Do you remember this one?

Bush's voice: So, I don't know where he is, you know, I just don't spend that much time on it...

Randi: Do something with that.

Howard: What was that, Osama?

Randi: That was him talking about Osama, and now he wants to eavesdrop on all of us because he needs to find Osama? Yeah, right. All right, well thank you.

Howard: Thanks, Randi.

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Street Prophets interviews Ted Strickland

Yesterday I posted about the Ohio governor's race in general, and specifically about how perplexed I am that newly announced candidate Eric Fingerhut's criticism of Howard Dean's recent visit to our state. The odd thing as that Fingerhut was on record as being "insulted" by Dean's visit before the event even took place--someone brought it up in the question and answer period immediately after the Honesty in Government event held on Wednesday morning. Petty snipes at fellow Democrats would seem to be a counterproductive tactic in a year that we have Ken Blackwell and his band of zealous theocrats to fight.

Thankfully, there is another candidate in the race, Ted Strickland, who has already won a number of key endorsements. Given that the Republican nominee is very likely to be Ken Blackwell, a favorite of the Religious Right who routinely appears at events carrying his Bible, Strickland, as an ordained minister may have a unique advantage if defusing or counteracting some of the rhetoric coming from the Blackwell camp.

Over at Street Prophets today, there is an interview with Ted Strickland...

Strickland grew up hardscrabble in Southern Ohio, on a dirt road that Roy Rogers and Branch Rickey also called home. A story that turns up often in his speeches concerns the chicken shack his father fixed up as temporary housing after the family home burned down. "Believe me," he's fond of saying, "if you learn anything from living in a chicken shack, it's that things can get better."

Click here for the rest.

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Note: The Book of Job

Preface from Renee...Catreona had wanted to post this on Sunday, but I went and put the young Howard Dean graphic up in an Open Thread before she got the chance. Since she hasn't posted it yet, I've decided that I will. It gives me the opportunity to address something that I'm sure many Dean supporters think of when someone mentions the Book of Job: Dean's supposed "gaffe" in referring to Job as his favorite book of the New Testament. Check out the comment in What Howard Dean Got Right:

The Book of Job is the best part of the Bible, regardless of which Testament it's in.
Okay, sure, the most cringe-worthy moment in the campaign (including for my money The Scream [that wasn't]) had to be when Dean listened to one too many advisers telling him a Democrat must speak in tongues to get votes in Dixie. Among the awkward moments that followed was one where Dean said Job was his favorite chapter in the New Testament, instead of Version 1.0.

But hey, new or old, Job is not only the most profound discussion of God's mystery in the good book, but couldn't be more relevant given the sanctimonious preaching of the Religious Right and their lackeys in the Bush Administration. People who think God is a Peeping Tom worried about how and with whom we're having sex need to review the Whirlwind's admonition to Job that humans stop arrogantly assuming they can get into His head.

And by the way, I "gaffe" way more than Howard Dean does--I'll bet a lot of us do. At last week's Democracy Bond event, when I was sitting at the table at the front of the room with the other bloggers, Mary Jo Kilroy stopped by the table to say hello to Demetrius and myself. So far that day, I'd been feeling a little out of my league among bloggers who knew more about what was going on in Ohio politics, but here it appeared that most of the people at the table did not recognize our Franklin County Commissioner (who is running against Deb Pryce for Congress). So, after chatting for a bit, I go to introduce her, saying "This is Mary Jo Pryce..." Before I even realized that the wrong word had come out, Mary Jo was laughing and saying "No, no, no--NOT Pryce! I'm running against her!" or something along those lines.

Of *course* I knew that. In fact, when I began the sentence of introduction, I had a brief moment of panic when I couldn't remember the name of her opponent, but apparently it came to me in the middle of saying Mary Jo Kilroy's name.

Similarly, there is no doubt that Howard Dean knew that Job was in the Old Testament rather than the New Testament. *Minutes* later, after thinking through his response to that reporter, he went back to him and made the correction. But it's funnier, apparently, to keep picking on Dean for not knowing his Bible.

Every quarter that I teach Introductory Psychology, at some point I have students take the "Densa Quiz". It has a number of questions that people typically get wrong, not because they are ignorant, but because they don't listen/read very carefully, or because they pay attention to the general gist of the question without tuning in to the specific details. Here is one most students miss *every time*--even the ones who have described themselves as Christians and work with church youth groups in their spare time:

How many animals of each sex did Moses take on the ark?

Invariably, the vast majority will respond "Two." I will pause, ask, "Are you sure?" and they will say "Yes." I will then say, "Let's try this again...How many animals of each sex did Moses take on the ark?" Then the lightbulb goes on. Should I be horrified that some of these people are leading church youth groups, given their obvious cluelessness about the Bible? Of course not. That's just how the human mind works sometimes. But I *am* pretty disappointed that some people couldn't bring themselves to stop chortling over another "gaffe that wasn't". And now, here's Catreona's post from Sunday:

crossposted at Disabled Americans for Democracy

It's been a long time since I last read The Book of Job. Rereading it this weekend for a course (the Hadley School for the Blind's Old Testament Poetry and Prophecy), I was surprised to note its strong Social Justice content. There is strong emphasis on care for the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, dealing justly with the widowed and fatherless, as well as the fate awaiting the wicked.

This emphasis is somewhat surprising since, according to received wisdom, Job was written before the full development of Israelite religion, ca. 1400 B.C., the approximate date of the Pentateuch (the first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy), an possibly earlier, during the time of the patriarchs themselves. Thus, Job shows that the strong sense of Social Justice evident in later Israelite and then Christian thought was already firmly established, even before the full formation of the Jewish national identity. Thus, one might conclude that for the People of the Book (Jews, Christians and Moslems), justice and social responsibility would be thoroughly ingrained,, second nature, and that among them violence and oppression would be the exception rather than the rule.

Unfortunately though, as ably demonstrated by our current president, being a Christian, at least in one's own eyes, is totally consistent with greed, oppression and the grinding down of the poor.

One is irresistibly reminded of Our Lord's words in Matthew 7:21-27:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

The Ohio Governor's Race

An important election in 2006 is the election of a new governor in the state of Ohio. Due to term limits, Bob Taft (great-grandson of President William Howard Taft) is not able to run for re-election. Given the criminal charges against him for failing to disclose golf outings and other gifts paid for by lobbyists, I imagine Ohio Republicans are glad that he is not able to run again.

The frontrunner among the Republican candidates for governor at this point is J. Kenneth Blackwell, current Secretary of State, who you might remember from the 2004 election. In addition to the voting irregularities and his dual role as Secretary of State and co-chair of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, there's some scary stuff about him over at Theocracy Watch that you might want to check out. So, I think a lot of us are thinking "Anybody But Blackwell".

There are now three Democratic candidates for governor, as I first learned at the Honesty in Government event with Howard Dean last Wednesday. Chris Redfern (the new chair of the Democratic party in Ohio) was asked about somebody's remark that we don't need people from Washington to come in and tell us how to fix Ohio. Because Chris was the one with the microphone, I heard his answer, but was not able to make out the whole question, and in particular, the name of the individual who made the remark that seemed reminiscent of John Edwards during the primaries.

It was only later that I found out the remark was made by Eric Fingerhut, who recently announced that he is seeking the Democratic nomination in the race for governor.

Dean's appearance didn't resonate with all Democrats. State Sen. Eric Fingerhut of Cleveland, also running for governor, said he was insulted by a Washington politician coming to Ohio to talk about corruption.

"People know what's happening in the Statehouse. They don't need Howard Dean to come and tell them that," Fingerhut said.

Seriously. Bad. Move.

What's up with that? Trying to score points with the anti-Dean faction? Here is what Chris Redfern said in response:
I've been blessed to serve with many able legislators, Eric Fingerhut among them. My friend Brian Flannery is here from Strongsville also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of the state of Ohio and of course Ted Strickland. I'm looking forward to having more discussion about the need for reform with all our candidates, and Eric, and Ted and Brian are standing together in calling for the need to reform state government.

I really think it is absurd for someone to be "insulted" about Howard Dean coming to Ohio. As the article I excerpted above states,
Dean's visit gave a national stage to an argument Ohio Democrats have been making for months: Voters should end 12 years of Republican domination of state government because of pervasive GOP corruption.

And that's a *good thing* Eric! How could you not see that?

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Howard Dean coming up on Randi Rhodes

Thank you, Holly J, for the tip:

**** alert, alert*** Howard Dean will be on the Randi Rhodes show in an hour 5 EST

Here is the link to the Randi Rhodes Show web site.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Late Night Open Thread with gratuitous eye candy.

We can return to serious discussions tomorrow. ;-)

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National Sanctity of Life Day Action Item

Reminder: State of Belief airs from 5 to 6 p.m. Eastern time tonight on Air America Radio.

Driving my daughter to choir practice, I passed a Catholic church that apparently took to heart Bush's proclamation of National Sanctity of Life Day. The lawn was covered with white crosses, and there was a sign that said "abortion kills babies". I couldn't read all of the words as I drove past, but apparently there was a numercal comparison between abortion victims and Holocaust victims.

Wonder how many crosses the Bush administration has racked up in the past 5 years. The easy part would be coming up with the number of deaths brought about as a result of his misguided misadventure in Iraq. The hard part would be finding out how many lives have been lost, either directly or indirectly, as a result of his domestic policies.

I still believe that we need to respond to this utter hypocrisy. Bush, who as Governor of Texas, signed a "pull the plug law", preaching to Americans about the "sanctity of life". And, reading the proclamation, one can't help but notice the religious language he uses. What a truly frightening man this is--with this mix of warmongering and the mantle of piety he wears, the words "Holy Roman Emperor" come to mind.

But here's the part that deserves response, in thoughtful letters to the editor as well as any eye-catching statements we can come up with...

National Sanctity of Human Life Day is an opportunity to strengthen our resolve in creating a society where every life has meaning and our most vulnerable members are protected and defended including unborn children, the sick and dying, and persons with disabilities and birth defects. This is an ideal that appeals to the noblest and most generous instincts within us, and this is the America we will achieve by working together.

So, let's look at the Bush administration's track record on protecting and defending the most vulnerable members of our society. Unborn children? Right, this is supposed to be a point in his favor, since he's against abortion. But I would think that protecting and defending them would also involve making sure that their mothers have access to affordable medical care, and that their jobs pay a living wage. The sick and dying? Persons with disabilities? I'm thinking the main idea here is that he is against euthanasia, but I'll bet that administration policies have adversely affected each of these groups.

Let's not miss this opportunity. Let's make sure that newspapers around the country receive letters tomorrow morning addressing the Bush administration's *callous disregard* for the sanctity of life, giving specific examples. Please use the comments to share facts that can be used in letters to the editor, or to post your own letter that you are sending...or any other ideas this sparks for you.

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Sunday Cartoons

Enough Is Enough

Originally posted on The Underground Railroad

How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, "Violence!"
but you do not save?

Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.

Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.
Habakkuk 1:2-4

Someone once said that if God doesn't deal with America soon then He'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. As I look around America and see this Brokeback crap to my left and this Bushwacked crap to my right I see the logic of their assertion. When I look in the mirror and see my own crap I echo Paul's point and cry, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Do you ever wonder how long this same old stuff will continue to go on, how long the wicked will seem to prosper while those who are trying to do right seem to falter? Habakkuk voiced this concern to God when he saw the wickedness of his own countrymen - the people who were supposed to be a kingdom of priests, who were supposed to be a holy nation, who were supposed to be God's own possession. Instead, what he saw was iniquity and wickedness, violence and destruction, strife and contention, the law being ignored and justice being perverted.

Look familiar?

One day, all of this crap is coming to a screeching halt - the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Yet no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.

Any day now.

Until that day comes - be that in a few hours or a few millennia - we who are called by His name are called to stand our ground in this evil day. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the body armor of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the armored Humvee of faith, with which you can survive all the IEDs of the evil one. Take the brain bucket of salvation and the rifle of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

We all need prayer. Desperately.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to accept Him on His terms,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

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