Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Sunday, July 31, 2005


(Found at A Scrivener's Lament.)

Saturday, July 30, 2005


"The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don't turn against him, they crush those beneath them." --Emily Bronte 07/30/1818 – 12/19/1848

Friday, July 29, 2005

GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT (BUSH WARS EDITION): One of the most hilarious things I've read in weeks, found at rantavation. Go to Sun Ray Blog and read "The War on Terror As viewed from the Bourne shell". If you can't read *nix, there's also an annotated version at "The War on Terror - For Dummies" (which may be even funnier). If you can, here's a small sample:
$ cd Afghanistan
$ ls
bin Taliban
$ rm Taliban
rm: Taliban is a directory
$ cd Taliban
$ ls
$ rm soldiers
$ cd ..
$ rmdir Taliban
rmdir: directory "Taliban": Directory not empty
$ cd Taliban
$ ls -a
. .. .insurgents
$ chown -R USA .*
chown: .insurgents: Not owner
THE PROOF IS IN THE PIXELS: Jason Kuznicki of Positive Liberty puts up several thousand words worth of pictures as his response to some composite letters. They speak beautifully for themselves. Go read and look at "How Not to Make Me Ex-Gay". (Found at Naked Writing.)
POP QUIZ: Matt Welch has several suggested questions for Senators to ask Extreme Court nominee John Roberts, including
5) You're on a lifeboat, but it can only hold 8 of the original 10 amendments without sinking, killing your whole family. Which ones go?
(Found at AintNoBadDude.)
GLOSSOLALIA: In Massachusetts,
Coaches on a Little League team filed a protest with the league after an umpire ordered the players to stop speaking Spanish during a state tournament game this week. Coaches said the order demoralized the Methuen players and cost the team the game. ...

National Little League spokesman Lance Van Auken said there's no rule against players speaking Spanish or any other language on the field. But he said it's too late to reverse the decision or the outcome of the game.
I guarantee this idiot won't be umpiring at the Little League World Series. In 1997 the champion team was from Mexico, and there have been several years the winners spoke Chinese, Korean, or Japanese. Maybe this guy should hang up his uniform and apply for a job in Bush's State Department, or perhaps working for Bolton when he goes to the UN by a recess appointment. He'll fit right in. (Found at War Liberal.)
SCHADENFREUDE: This was the response to Frist's faithlessness to the theocratic dogma today, by Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon.
Which all leads me to today's Way to Make a Wingnut's Head Explode -- ask him if he would have supported stem cell research if there was a chance it would have brought Terri Schiavo out of her permanent vegetative state.
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE PONTIFEX MAXIMUS: This is taken from the transcript of the July 12 Hardball,
in which Chris Matthews discusses the pending Supreme Court nominations with Senator Joseph Biden.

MATTHEWS: What about "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, would you support a judge who wanted to get rid of it?

BIDEN: I would find, no, probably not. The reason would be not because of that particular decision but because I would wonder about how he could have arrived at that reading of the Constitution. Where does it say, in the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, that this nation does not recognize a deity? I believe that the Establishment Clause, which is the one that says you can have no established religion in the First Amendment, I believe means just that - you cannot favor one belief or non-belief over another belief. But the notion of recognizing the existence of a deity is totally consistent with in my view a proper reading of the Constitution and has been for as I said two centuries.
This fool with Presidential ambitions is either dangerously thoughtless, hopelessly stupid, willfully misleading, or a covert theocrat. Whichever is the case, he shouldn't be serving in any office which requires an oath of allegiance to the Constitution. He can't or won't even comprehend it. Such trimmers enable the monsters who come later. (Found at Busy, Busy, Busy.)
THE VEGETATIVE STATE PERSISTS: As the cat-killer from Tennessee tries to exploit stem cells for a "Sister Souljah moment", once again the AP sends out a story which may contain a typo that will be corrected later. Right now it says:
At the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan said Frist had given Bush advance notice of his announcement. "The president said, 'You've got to vote your conscious,'" McClellan said.
On the other hand, this may be an accurate quote from the nation's First Disarticulator. It reminded me of an old issue of Cerebus the Aardvark:
Lord Julius: Well, what about those two tall guys with the big spears who were walking in front of me when we got here?
Servant: You told me to trade them for the silver and gold bathtub in the shape of a giant squid.
Lord Julius: Well, it certainly sounds like something I'd do....

Thursday, July 28, 2005

INTO YOUR LIFE IT WILL CREEP: A U.T.-Austin professor raises some doubts about the official story. "What if the four London bombers didn’t know they were bombers?" Read it all at "Reasonable Doubt". (Found at Peevish.)
UNAMENDED BLISS: Since the reactionary theocrats controlling the Republican majority in the Texas legislature have graced our November ballot with an abomination of an amendment to ban gay marriages, good folk are organizing across the state to oppose this demagogic bigotry. Openly gay former State Representative Glenn Maxey is heavily involved in this, and his group has started a new website where you can sign up for news of the campaign. Go check it out at No Nonsense In November!
REPEAT OFFENDERS: There is a special election for a seat in Congress in Ohio next Tuesday. The Democratic candidate is an anti-Iraq-war veteran of the Gulf War. As polls show more Americans now think the current war is a disaster, a Republican survey shows the Democrat, Paul Hackett, only a few points down.

The desperate anti-Hackett people have started a campaign of lies about him, denying that he is a Gulf War vet at all. Didn't we see them try something like that last year with John Kerry? According to MyDD:
A local conservative radio host started by questioning Paul Hackett's service to country. Scott Sloan of WLW 700 AM in Cincinnati went off on some insane rant about the real level Paul's patriotism regarding the war in Iraq and claimed Hackett was using his service for "political purposes."

Over the past two days, Republicans have been calling into talk radio across the district saying things like, "Paul wasn't really a Marine Corps Major in Iraq." It's a coordinated effort, as I am hearing from people that similar lines are being repeated and repeated by radio callers in and out of the district. ...

A few days ago, an Amry Private First Class was burried in Fairfield, Ohio. Within 24 hours, a number of flags were burned and tossed into a pile infront of his mother and father-in law's home. As you can imagine, this incident has led to a lot of press and sadness for the family.

The same host above, Scott Sloan, attempted to tie Paul Hackett to the flag burning incident. He said that it was people like Paul Hackett that allow things like this to happen.
There is lots more coverage at Swing State Project, including these gems:
The Jean Schmidt campaign has been 100% taken over by Washington Republicans hell-bent orchestrating the worst smear campaign that Ohio has ever seen (quite a bold statement). ... It appears that Campaign Manager Joe Braun -- who had vowed NOT to go negative -- was forced out after Schmidt insisted on letting the D.C. hacks do their nastiest.

There is also word that the RNC is dumping $750,000 in smear ads into the district.

If any of this is true, it shows that the Schmidt campaign is desperately trying to hold onto a slim lead. The polls are moving for Hackett, the netroots are providing the resources to compete, and all the Schmidt campaign has left are dirty tricks.
And some small-"c" conservatives are fed up with Schmidt, and telling people so.
The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes announced today that it is launching a radio campaign urging Republicans, conservatives and advocates of limited government to stay at home on Tuesday and cautioning voters not to vote for Republican Jean Schmidt. ...

"During her tenure in the Ohio legislature, Jean Schmidt voted in favor of every single one of Bob Taft's tax increases, and for good measure, proposed more of her own," said COAST Chairman Jim Urling. "In her recent literature she says that she supports 'limited government and lower taxes.' Indeed, her voting record decidedly shows her beliefs are in bigger government and in higher taxes. She simply is a big-government advocate. Any statement by her to the contrary is a lie."
Former U.S. Senator John Glenn is also helping recruit volunteers for Hackett. Finally, even Texas bloggers are getting into the act, sending this note and graphic link:

Inspired by Greg Wythe when he bestowed the title of Honorary Texan on Paul Hackett, Texas Bloggers, led by Burnt Orange Report, Off the Kuff, PinkDome, and Greg's Opinion are calling today upon all Texans (and friends of Texas) to join ranks and donate towards the very cause we have been arguing for this past week- Run Everywhere, because it's what our Party and our Democracy needs.


(Click on the picture above to go to a contribution site, with a special message from Paul Hackett.)

(Says Greg Wythe:) His success is our success, not just as Texas Democrats, but as Democrats period.

"Paul Hackett is hereby granted "Temporary Texan" status from now and election day in the Ohio 2nd (August 2). I'm pretty sure I have no legal standing whatsoever to convey Texan-ship, but who am I to let that stop me?"

(Says Karl T.:) Certainly not us Greg. So join us today, in a special edition, Texas Thursday, for Honorary Texan Paul Hackett. Let's roll.
BELL STEPS UP TO THE PLATE: Undeterred by rumors that longtime loser John Sharp may get in the race, Chris Bell has decided to run for Governor of Texas next year. He'll be formally announcing in Austin on August 14. You can find out more, and sign up for his email list, at his website.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

FREUDIAN SLIP?: Does the AP's Douglass Daniel know something we don't? This article at Yahoo News may be corrected later, but right now it still says
Leahy and the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said Roberts' elevation to the Supreme Court called for a high standard of evaluation — higher than that when the Senate agreed to out Roberts on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in May 2003.
Meanwhile, the Bu'ushists have obviously learned nothing from their failure to ram Bolton through for the UN because they wouldn't reveal his info requests. Now they seem determined to hand over to the Democrats on a silver platter the same kind of wonderful "meta-issue" to oppose him over. Let's hope they dig their own grave with this, but be warned: more than once this administration has dug in its heels and backed down later when there was no real problem being covered up. This may be a similar trap.
THEIR CLEVER PLAN: Nathan at Quo Vadis is being very cynical. It would not surprise me if the GOP's inner circle feels just like this.
The Republican Party doesn't want to overturn Roe v. Wade, and that's why we're now seeing Souter-regurgitated as the nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. ...

First, over half of the American people -- i.e., those people who elect them -- don't want Roe overturned. Actually overturning it could have political ramifications that would devastate the Republican Party for decades to come.

Second, actually overturning Roe v. Wade would deprive the Republican Party of a major hot button issue that serves to rally their conservative base. They would no longer be able to say that they're going to overturn Roe, it would be done, and a lot of the conservative voters who run to the polls because of Roe would sit at home on election day. ...

Fourth, and finally, the Republican Party simply doesn't want Roe v. Wade gone. Come on -- with the abortion rate as high as it is, do you think liberals are the only ones getting abortions?
Read it all at "Souter in Roberts' Clothing".
STEPPING IN IT: Tom Blackwell sent this item from the Fort Worth Startlegram, which I reprint entire since they want registration to read.
As if things in the Texas Legislature are not in enough of a stink, a Dallas gay-activist group said last week that it plans to begin mailing cow manure to senators who favor a ban on same-sex marriages.

The group, on its new Web site, said it has "begun shipping pink-painted cattle excrement" to 20 lawmakers. Republican Sens. Kim Brimer of Fort Worth, Jane Nelson of Lewisville and Chris Harris of Arlington are on the "send poo" mailing list.

If the group's not careful, it could step into a real mess, including fines and a stay in federal prison, said Amanda McMurrey, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Fort Worth.

"Excrement, regardless of origin, is mailable only under certain conditions," McMurrey said. Those conditions, she noted, do not include a coat of pink paint.
Which makes me curious to read just what those conditions are for sending cow patties to deserving Solons. It's also a case of carrying coals to Newcastle, since the last thing those demagogues need is any more of their principal component.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It would be irresponsible to take a position on the nomination of Judge Roberts until his background is carefully reviewed, and until senators have a chance to question him at length.
--New York Times, July 20
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay a tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the Law, justice, mercy and faith; these you should have done, and not leave the other undone. You blind guides, who strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel"
--Matthew 23:23-24

No, Bush didn't appoint him just because he's a strongly conservative lawyer who has almost no track record as a judge, and will be easier to confirm. There were plenty of people who fit that category.

No, it's not just a payback for helping mount the legal fight in Florida against counting Gore's vote in the 2000 Presidential election. That debt was paid when Bush appointed him to the appeals court two years ago.

He really picked this stealth subverter of the Bill of Rights because of an important case coming up this fall which Bush has to be certain this new member of the court will not oppose him on. This case deals with an issue much more vital to the administration than abortion, affirmative action, flag burning, restricting the rights of injured people to sue corporations, or school prayer -- all of which this guy is likely to be wrong on, or has already gone on record as being wrong on. Those are just raw meat to be thrown to the public mob.

Here's the real crux of the matter that Bush wants a proven loyalist in place for:
His last notable decision was made last week, when his appeals court overturned a lower court decision that the special military tribunals for suspected terrorists at the Guantanamo detention camp in Cuba are illegal.

However a new appeal is set to go to the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Liberal columnists like Robert Scheer of the Los Angeles Times join the Waxman chorus. Of White House political adviser Karl Rove's efforts to discredit Joe Wilson by outing his wife Valerie Plame as a covert CIA employee, Scheer bellows furiously that that Rove might have even endangered Plame's life and that "this partisan game jeopardizes national security. This is the most important issue raised by the Plame scandal."

But suppose one of Valerie Plame's covert CIA missions, until outed by Karl Rove, had been to liaise with Venezuelan right-wingers planning to assassinate president Hugo Chavez, possibly masquerading as a journalist and using her attractions to secure an audience with the populist president and then poison him, just as the CIA tried to poison Castro. In an earlier incarnation Scheer would surely have been eager to jeopardize national security by exposing Plame's employer.

Thirty-eight years ago Scheer was one of the editors of Ramparts and in February of 1967 that magazine ran an expose of covert CIA funding of the National Student Association, prompting furious charges that it had endangered national security which, from the foreign policy establishment's point of view, it most certainly had. Of course Ramparts, and the left in general, derided the very phrase "national security" as a phony rationale for covering up years of covert CIA operations entirely inimical to any decent definition of what "national security" should properly mean.

The CIA's covert wing is not in the business of advancing world peace and general prosperity. The record of almost 60 years is one of uninterrupted evil. So we should drop all this nonsense about treason and clap Rove warmly on the back for his courageous onslaughts on the cult of secrecy. By all means delight in the White House's discomfiture, but spare us the claptrap about national security and treason.
Ponder it all at "Don't You Dare Call It Treason".

Sunday, July 17, 2005

BLIND OPTIMISM: In Today's Washington Post, Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen offer a bit of wishful thinking.
But as the story hurtles toward a conclusion sometime this year...
Karl's amazing adventure is getting him almost as much coverage as he would have gotten if he were a missing pretty young white woman.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Allons enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L'étendard sanglant est levé
Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras.
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes!

Aux armes citoyens
Formez vos bataillons
Marchons, marchons
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons

Que veut cette horde d'esclaves
De traîtres, de rois conjurés?
Pour qui ces ignobles entraves
Ces fers dès longtemps préparés?
Français, pour nous, ah! quel outrage
Quels transports il doit exciter?
C'est nous qu'on ose méditer
De rendre à l'antique esclavage!

Sunday, July 10, 2005


On the next morning the soldier with the green beret came to the Spin Wordsmith and said:

"Aus has sent for you. Follow me."

So the Spin Wordsmith followed him and came to the great Oval Office. Aus had taken the shape of a most terrible Beast.

It was a large flesh-eating Riversleigh Killer Kangaroo, able to prey on animals as large as itself by gripping things with powerful arms, then devouring them with strong jaws and teeth. The rest of the world had thought them extinct for twenty million years, but it seemed that this land of Aus was actually ruled by one.

"I am Aus, the Great and Terrible," spoke the Roo Of Enormous Size, in a voice that was one great roar. "Who are you, and why do you seek me?"

"I am Judith, a Wordsmith, and made of spin. Therefore I have no heart, and cannot feel. I pray you to give me a heart that I may be as other women are."

"Why should I do this?" demanded the Mighty Marsupial.

"Because I ask it, and you alone can grant my request," answered the Wordsmith.

Aus gave a low growl at this, but skipped ahead, gruffly: "If you indeed desire a heart, you must earn it."

"How?" asked the Wordsmith.

"Help Dubya to overthrow the regime of the Bloody Butcher of Baghdad, replied the Evolutionary Anachronism. "When the Brute is beaten, come to me, and I will then give you the biggest and kindest and most loving heart in all the Land of Aus."

So the Spin Wordsmith saw she would have to return sorrowfully to her friends and tell them of the terrible Beast she had seen. Just then a huge house came crashing through the ceiling and landed on the Karnivorous Kanga, whose feet and tail could be seen sticking out from under the front porch steps. Out onto the porch skipped a small modern relative of the prehistoric megafauna. In rushed a crowd of local webloggers, who linked hands and began circling the house in dance, gleefully singing "Ding, dong, the Rove is dead, the wicked Rove...."

Judith tapped one on the bloggers on the shoulder and asked what was going on. He looked up at her and said "We represent the Pixel Guild. We were able to create a spacetime warp by massive simultaneous links to one site. It so overwhelmed media reality that it brought the house down on the Rove's head. Now we're free!"

The Spin Wordsmith saw a great opportunity for a journalistic coup, and dashed up the steps to get the first interview with the blogger whose site had been used as the web weapon against Aus. As soon as she said, "Hi! I'm Judith...." the small bush roo and all the bloggers turned on her at once and began chasing her. She finally had to go hide in the local jail, where she could be safe from their wrath. After that, the bloggers went on celebrating with their new leader skippy.

[This post was inspired by the brilliant and surreal Rebecca of Hitherby Dragons.]

Saturday, July 09, 2005

HUMAN DOMINOES: A beautiful clenched-teeth cry of pain by Chris Clarke at Questions.

(Found by Eyeteeth, whose caption was "And with a curtsy and a wave, he was off to the ball...")
from an old Londoner who lived through the Blitz and the IRA bombs: "I’ve been blown up by a better class of bastard than this."
(Found by Dark Bilious Vapors.)
Ontario workers are well-trained.

That simple explanation was cited as a main reason why Toyota turned its back on hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies offered from several American states in favour of building a second Ontario plant. ...

He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

"The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario," Fedchun said.

In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada....
Read it HERE (found at Daily Kos).

Friday, July 08, 2005

George Bush has ordered attacks against the Solar System. His first attack was a Shock and Awe campaign aginst a comet. Escalation and ground troops are the logical follow-up.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Ultimately, the heart and soul of real journalism is not so much protecting "sources" at any cost. It is, rather, living up to the 19th Century maxim set forth by Peter Finley Dunne, that journalists should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. ...

But the Times' Judy Miller has not been afflicting the comfortable. She has been protecting them, advancing their objectives, and helping them to mislead a now very afflicted American public. In fact, thinking again about Watergate and Deep Throat is a good way to understand why Judy Miller should not be protected today. Because in Watergate, a reporter acting like Miller would not be meeting the FBI's Mark Felt in an underground parking garage. She would be obsessively on the phone with H.R. Haldeman or John Dean, listening to malicious gossip about Carl Bernstein or their plans to make Judge Sirica look bad.
Read it all at "Why this journalist thinks that Judy Miller should go to jail". (Found at Anbruch.)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS: Arthur Silber discusses torture and Supreme Court nominees and how not to defeat them:
Note to Senator Reid and any others who might be severely brain-damaged at this point: you said Gonzales was "qualified." You gave the battle away. Further doubts or qualifications don't matter. Game, set and match to the Bushies.

If we are on our way into hell in this country — and we may well be — the Democrats will have helped to grease the path, every damnable inch of it. Let me be clear: in our nominal two-party system, which today is actually a one-party system devoted solely to expanding government, with fights only over details and who gets the biggest part of the spoils and who has the most power, the Democrats are still the only potential source of opposition at the moment. So I write these admittedly very angry essays with a purpose.

... I am simply trying TO WAKE THE DEMOCRATS THE HELL UP. What in God's name will it take to get the Democrats finally to show some resolve, some determination, and a willingness to put up a meaningful battle about issues of transcendent importance?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

THE THING WITH FEATHERS: Relentless optimists who hope Bush will not nominate a Supreme Court justice like the one he's promised to the theocrats have offered some other names he might pick. Michael Bérubé suggests a bipartisan surprise, and Fried Green al-Quedas, knowing he'd really like to resurrect Torquemada, proposes a more modern version of invariant correctness. On the more pessimistic side, South Knox Bubba has the scary scoop from the tabloids.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Today Americans drink, barbeque, crowd lakes, and use or watch others use the most lasting non-culinary invention of the Chinese. Here in Dallas there are billboards and other ads warning about the large fines for setting off fireworks in the city limits. Just a couple of hours ago some partying folks half a block away shot up several skyrockets. All of this noisy celebration is like the body's appendix: a retained remnant whose original purpose has been forgotten.

That purpose was a proud claim of moral anarchy, epitomized by Henry's response to the Bush-like charge of treason: "make the most of it". What Adams called "Mr. Jefferson's advertisement of the declaration" was publicly read, and memorized by schoolchildren, for generations, largely in blissful unawareness of the radical implications of this first notable instance in world history of the general public's claim of a right to overthrow existing governments when oppressed, that should scare the powers that be today.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The idea that ordinary people can impose their own grass-roots "regime change" at will -- how pre-911!! Better not encourage them in such dangerous delusions. They might even read the rest of that flaming subversive proclamation, and begin comparing the things the British king was accused of with what the current administration is actually doing.
...when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.
Bush's minders think they can distract the people from the spreading economic and military disaster by accusations of disloyalty and trumped up charges that foreign leaders are terrorists. Once burned, twice shy. For a long time I've suggested that after the Democrats retake the U.S. House in 2006, there will be charges of impeachment, both for war crimes and domestic ones. (And as I keep reminding people: do Cheney first!) Right now, Rove's marionette seems not to fear that fate. That may be his whistling in the dark to fool the rubes.

Last week there came a clue that the front man may expect to be leaving the White House before the end of his term. Tom Blackwell, a Democratic Precinct Chair in Dallas County, sent this email about some neighbors:
According to an article in the Park Cities People, June 30, p. 2C, George W. Bush and wife Laura have purchased 3901 Euclid in Highland Park. It's just down the street from the Cheney's former residence at 3812 Euclid, and around the corner from the former residence of John Hinckley on Beverly Drive.
I've always had a soft spot for the idea of Texas independence, but this may make me reconsider whether exercising that Jeffersonian right is a prudent idea right now. Who wants to break away from the union, only to be stuck with the same tinpot tyrant you seceded to get away from? Why couldn't he slink back to exile in Maine instead? -- PBU27