Saturday, August 11, 2007

Open Thread

This curse is related to the "magical" phrase Abracadabra, which is actually of Aramaic origin: avhadda kedhavhra, meaning "disappear like this word"... Alternatively, the words translate as "I create as I speak".

Talk amongst yourselves.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

This is what I hate about politics

Apparently (according to a front page post on Booman Tribune) Harold Ford is going to face off against Markos "The Great and Powerful Kos" Moulitsas on Meet the Press this Sunday. I'm guessing the idear for this match-up came about as a result of this statement made by Harold Ford on Fox News.

I would have gone to Daily Kos and told them, I think they’re wrong the way you go about practicing your politics. If you’re serious about winning the war and bringing the country together, get another message and another set of tactics…
Which tactics would those be, Harold? The ones where you cozy up to and make kissy faces with the people who will never be on your side no matter how "moderate" and reasonable you try to come across? The tactics where you buy, hook, line, and sinker, Bill O'Reilly's "spin" that Daily Kos is/are the "bad Democrats", because you think you can play that to your advantage? And that perceived advantage is so valuable to you that you can't possibly do the minimal, cursory research it would take to learn that "Daily Kos" is not as monolithic as you suggest.

Harold, do you seriously think that the way to "bring the country together" is to paint a Snidely Whiplash mustache on a segment of the Democratic party, and then celebrate that you and the Republicans now have a common foe? That's just freakin' sad.

I won't be rooting for Markos either. As far as I've been able to discern, his only core value is winning. Period. That, and I think he's an arrogant ass.

This is, of course, not the only thing I hate about politics, but it's a pretty good example of the petty pointlessness of it. And all this energy and air time is being directed toward something other than making things better for people. (Pssst! Millennium Development Goals, people!)

So I won't be watching Meet the Press. I'll be in church listening to my daughter sing with the choir. And I should probably spend some time in quiet contemplation, because I really don't know what's next. Part of me would like to tune out all of politics as Somebody Else's Problem. But I don't know that I could ever do that. A few years ago, I promised Someone that I would work to help "heal the world", and I meant it. I guess I need to connect with some other people who feel the same way, and start working together on one little part of the world that needs fixing.

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Open Thread

I've made some additions to my shared items, including some reflections by Terrance of The Republic of T on last night's Visible Vote 08 candidate forum.

In other news, Talk Like a Pirate Day is just over a month away...

Talk amongst yourselves.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Run, dammit!

Another draft Al Gore type site I thought you all might enjoy...

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Open Thread

I got a kick out of some of the Photoshopped signs here.

You can play with a Warning Sign Generator here.

I've been trying to come up with some clever "warning sign" designs (but definitely not caution sign designs) for t-shirts and such. This is the only one I've got so far. It's what we think every time we see one of those signs.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Some thoughts on Hillary

In response to a diary making the rather asinine argument that Hillary's nomination is a "done deal" and we need to stop fighting it, Demetrius had a few things to say. I thought his comments were worth sharing here. -Renee

I actually really used to like Hillary. This was before she became a politician. She seems doomed to be the kind of politician I hate. Having James Carville's hand up her backside moving her mouth certainly doesn't help her AFAIC.

One thing I learned shopping for used cars is that if they know you aren't willing to leave without That Car you will never get the deal you want/deserve. If they know you are really willing to walk away the advantage shifts to your side. Democrats have been playing us that way for YEARS. I know I am going to work against Hillary in the primary. But, I'm probably part of a very small minority of Democrats who isn't sure, even, if he would vote for Hillary in the GE. As important to me as electing Democrats is - just as important is changing the political "game". Hillary is the antithesis of changing the political game. A shift is just beginning to occur. And, I'm not so bent on electing Democrats that I'm willing to turn the game back over to the old consultants and power brokers in Washington.

But, that's just me.

It was Bill that said "fall in love in the primary, and fall in line in the general." The problem is that they are not willing to let us fall in love in the primaries, anymore. Earlier and earlier we are expected to give up on what/whom WE want and support the Presumptive Nominee.

We get all this "It's a done deal...", "He/She's inevitable", "There's no point in voting for anyone else.", "There's no point in building anything but a shoe shop..." " crap before the primary. We got stuck with Kerry the last time and we bent over and took it for the Team. Never again!

Hillary seems far more interested in gaming political advantage than in doing what is right much of the time. She strikes me as lacking for real political courage. Either her judgment, or her commitment to principles I share, or both are cast into doubt by her voting record (...particularly giving a "known drunk" the "keys to the car".) I don't want another Bush - who runs every decision thru his/her political wing. I want a president who is more interested in good governance than winning re-election.

Hillary has learned the old political game. But, she doesn't seem to have learned good governance. If she has learned anything else, why won't she admit her mistakes (especially Iraq) and apologize for them? ('Cause some consultant advised her not to look "weak" or "wishy-washy"?) What do you call someone who is in possession of all the facts but is none the wiser? ...Other than "Dubya".

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The "You work for us" summer tour

Via Firedoglake. (If you find any other good links about this effort, please feel free to share them.)
Dear Elected Members of Congress: Welcome to the “You Work For Us Summer Tour.” Coming to a public venue near you. And that is a stone cold promise.

This is your LiLo Don’t Drink And Drive Night at the minor leagues accountability moment, members of Congress. What group am I with when I call to make an appointment for me and a few hundred of my closest friends? I’m with “people who vote.” We are pissed off and disgusted. And you work for us, so we’ll be discussing your performance evaluation every opportunity that we get. We’ll be calling for an appointment shortly, so make a little space on your calendars.

You thought you were getting the month of August off to head out to friendly little senior centers and county fairs where you get to do your political shuck and gladhand and eat some homemade pie? Not so fast, slick.

Now that Congress has handed over the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the standard of probable cause as if they were mere wisps of nothingness that weren’t hard won from Runnymede through to the American Revolution and beyond, I have to wonder what has become of the fourth amendment in all of this mess? And, worse, whether Congressional leadership on either side of the aisle cares beyond getting the legislation out of the way so they can head out for vacation?

Marty Lederman has put together an exceptional series of expository links on the FISA legislation — bless him for it, because it is all I can do to get past furious this morning. The question I keep asking staffers and strategists: what in the hell were you thinking? And the “this is a difficult situation” response that I keep getting? Not. Good. Enough.
Click here for more.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Happy birthday, Thankful

Since I heard you like German chocolate cake...

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Blue Gal reminds us that this is the 6th anniversary of the Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S. daily briefing. You know, the one Bush ignored.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

There's no need to fear...

The Bush Crime Syndicate has this nation and the world over a barrel. The awful results of two stolen elections in the most powerful country on Earth are hard to undo, especially when it seems the Congress we elected to stop the madness keeps finding ways of giving BushCo everything it wants at the worst possible times.

Really, how much does it take to figure out that this administration has abused the power it's already stolen? Why would they be handing it more power, more money, and more trust when all we get in return is more lies, misery and death?

Bush is holding our troops hostage in Iraq. He's looting the treasury for his friends and making a mockery of everything this Nation is supposed to stand for.

The time has come for a true hero to emerge. One who will swoop down and deal with these criminals and their enablers. A hero who will be fearless in the face of mind numbing banality. A hero who will be strong even as our leaders cower in fear. Where is this hero who will save the day? Who is this Underdog?

Not bird, nor plane, nor even frog,
It's just little old us. The American People.

by Subway Serenade

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Howard Dean on young people and the future

The last part of Howard Dean's keynote address.

I want to close by talking about young people. I was in Dallas about two, three months ago, and there's a gentleman down there by the name of Reverend Freddie Haines who runs a big megachurch down in Dallas. And I went down to see him because he does a lot of social good works. And we're actually now in the business of reaching out to all kinds of people, and we reach out to Evangelical Christians. Why do we reach out to Evangelical Christians? Because there is a generational change going on.

There's an Evangelical preacher in Los Angeles by the name of Rick Warren. He wrote a book called The Purpose-Driven Life, some of you may have read it. He doesn't have his Sunday services conducted by preaching hate and beating up on gay people and women. They talk about Darfur. They talk about the environment, they talk about poverty--things that are actually in the Bible. And that is our commonality with the Evangelical movement, particularly young people. That sounds like a Democratic message. I know that there are going to be things that we disagree with, with our Evangelical brothers and sisters. But there are going to be some things that we agree with, and the younger generation, Evangelical, not Evangelical, whatever they are, the younger generation expects us to set aside our differences on things we don't agree with, and get to work on the things that we do agree with, so that we can make America a better place.

So, I went down to see Reverend Haines, and we had a good talk about all the things he was doing, and some politics and so forth, and he gave me a poll at the end of the meeting, which I read on the plane to wherever my next stop was. And, I want to tell you about it, because it is enormously hopeful for our country. In 2004, the turnout of young people went up dramatically. And young people across the board voted for John Kerry 56% and George Bush 44%. It was the only age group that John Kerry won. In 2006, off-year election, the number of young people (18-29) went up 20% from the off-year election in 2002. And they voted 61% Democrat and 39% Republican.

There's some lessons here. The first is, we know that if you vote three times in a row, you're likely to vote for the rest of your life. And the direction you vote in those three times in a row is likely to be the direction you vote for the rest of your life. So every single election has to be about young people. We are paying the price today for not reaching out to young people in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was running for president. That's how John Roberts ended up as the head of the Supreme Court. Every single election has to be about young people, whether you think they're important today in your particular election or not. Whether they're the swing vote or not. Because if you don't reach out to young people in every single election, you pay the price for that for 60 years, because their pattern is set, and it's very hard to get them back.

So that's the first lesson. The second is something that is really extraordinary. It turns out that in 2004, the turnout went up a lot for young people, as I said. And they voted heavily Democratic, even more so in 2006, when they voted even more Democratic. But here's the most interesting thing that I thought--because it gives me such hope for this next generation. People in my generation, we're kind of confrontational, and young people today aren't so big on confrontation. You know, we were out in the streets, marching with signs, trying to get the extablishment to change America. And they're on the internet getting their congressman to vote for the darn H811, to get the voting machines done, and all kinds of things like that. So they're changing America in a different way--not just confrontationally as we were.

Here's what happened, though, which I thought was really extraordinary. We did reach out, and there was a good campaign aimed at young folks in 2004. White voters under 30 went up 8%. African American voters under 30 went up 15%. Hispanic voters under 30 went up 23%. (Applause.) Now, it gets better. The interesting thing about those number is, the increase in voting turnout is inversely proportional to the registrations of the groups as a whole. Which means that, among young people, something is going on that's very very different than the patterns that you see in our generation. Here's the most interesting part of this statistic. It turns out that the turnout of the young folks across the board for everybody was 53%. That's a very good number for young folks, it's not what 60 year olds turn out--it can get better, but it's a good good number for young people. The most interesting thing is, the number was 53% for everybody--it didn't matter if you were black, white, or brown, the number was 53% in your community.

You see what I'm getting at? How things have changed so much that it doesn't matter any more--you do, of course, African American targeting, and Caucasian and Latino and al that, but, they're one generation. And the marketing that you do is different. There is actually a bunch of white kids running around malls with their pants down to their ankles these days. (Laughter.) The truth of the matter is that the vision that we had for America as we struggled through the civil rights era, uncomfortable with each other but trying to do the right thing, is the vision that our kids have accepted and are moving forward into the next generation with. (Cheers and applause.)

It makes me feel great about the future of America, in those times of agony when we see the corruption and the disrespect for the Constitution of the United States in Washington at the highest level, we can think about those under-30 people. I know that 45 years from now, they'll never elect somebody like that, because they believe in the world that we designed for them, a world where everybody is included, where equality does matter, where equal protection under the law for every single United States citizen matters, where America doesn't torture, and doesn't do extraordinary rendition. Where America will stand up for optimism and hope again. That is the country that we hope to build--it won't be built by us, but it will be built by our children, and we can see it already in their voting patterns. (Applause and cheers.)

So, the only thing I would say to this new generation is something that we all need to understand. I don't want people to become patient--I think impatience is a good thing. But, one of the things about getting to be in the older generation, I remember something my father once told me, which, of course, I resisted mightily when he told it to me, but now I'm about the age he was when he told me, so I'm gonna say it, and I believe it now. (Laughter.) He looked at me one time and he said, "You know, I have one advantage over you: I can look backwards as well as forwards."

When I was a freshman in college in 1968, Martin Luther King was killed, and Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. And I remember very much exactly where I was that day, and exactly what that was like. Now, these young folks under 30, they learn about Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy and John Lewis and folks like that--they learn about that in history books, but they didn't live it the way people in my generation lived it. They see it as a moment in history--it's history to them.

What I say to young folks is this: you need to remember that Martin Luther King was not just an ideal that we all worked towards in terms of inclusion and treating people properly. That he was a human being. It was 13 years between the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the signing of the Civil Rights Bill. Thirteen years! Not every day was a good day for Dr. King and his folks during those thirteen years. There were a lot of times that he and his folks had to get up and dust themselves off and go out and do something else that was really tough. And not all of them survived that.

And so what I say to all Americans, but particularly young people, is that this is not a one day or one election struggle. This is something we have to do every single day for the rest of our lives. (Cheers and applause.) Every single day for the rest of our lives. And when we get knocked down, we're going to stand up again for the core principles of America. Because America was knocked down by the far right wing of the Republican party in the last 8 years, and by God we're going to get up, and we're going to recover, and stand up for what we used to stand up for. We are going to regain the moral leadership that made America a great country, and we are going to live again in America, and stand up, and lead the world to the Promised Land. Thank you very much.

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