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

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

NOBLESS OBLIGE: This was posted at Unpaid Punditry Corps.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

SHOWING SOME SPINE: This was spotted by The Forbidden Notes of the Boîte Diabolique.
Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh repeatedly referred to Iraq war veteran and Democratic congressional candidate Paul Hackett as "another liberal Democrat trying to hide behind a military uniform" and accused him of going to Iraq "to pad the resumé." ...

Here's Hackett’s Response:

That's typical for that fatass drug addict to come up with something like that. ...I was on drill this weekend, I've got to tell you, he lost a lot of Republican supporters with his comments. Because they were coming up to me, telling me, "I can't believe he said that! Besides that, he called you a soldier. He doesn't know the difference between a soldier and a marine!"
Read it all at More Idiocy from Rush Limbaugh.
PRIORITÉS, TOUJOURS PRIORITÉS: Demagogue gives us an interesting insight into the primary principle of the man who would be Five Of Nine.
In 1984, when Judge John G. Roberts was a young legal adviser to President Ronald Reagan, he was asked to give his view on a matter pertaining to the fate of World War II-era Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. ...

"Not only am I convinced that the statute does not apply to Wallenberg, but I am institutionally disposed against adopting a limited reading of a statute conferring power on the President," Roberts wrote.
Read it at Roberts vs. Wallenberg.
FIGURES DON'T LIE: Karen of Dark Bilious Vapors does the calculations for us.
For those of you disparaging Mrs. Sheehan’s request to meet (yet again) with the President; I’d refer you to the Presidential Handbook™ [Citizenship Rule: 81(a) – 3.036 at page 4,766.] which clearly points out – “When the President uses an entire Year to meets with every valid Citizen of the U.S. [approx July 2005 figure = 295,734,134 citizens], Each Citizen will get NO More than their allotted Time." (Approximately 1.0670708 Seconds per Citizen.)

Everyone knows that Dumbya, having met with 16 families of deceased service men for approximately 10 minutes one day in 2004 at a rate of 18.75 seconds per person, is WAY beyond the national quotient of Presidential time allotted to any ONE Citizen. And, furthermore, having yet another 5 week Presidential vacation this year (cause he be “working HARD…it’s HARD work, ya know”) – only cuts down that 1.0670708 figure per citizen even further for 2005!!
Laugh at it all at Presidential Handbook™.

As always, the Conscience of the Web, Jeanne D'Orleans of Body and Soul, sets the world straight about Cindy's fruitless search for the Cloistered President, and how we should react to it:
I've been thinking about Claudette Colvin. On March 2, 1955, she was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person.

No, I don't have her confused with Rosa Parks. She acted nine months before Rosa Parks spoke the more famous and world-changing no....
Once again, I can only admit in awe, "I wish I'd said that." Go read it all at "Claudette Colvin, Cindy Sheehan, and Us"

Jeff Wells claims to be a satirist. I guess that means we can ignore this comparison:
From Berlin Diary, this is William Shirer's journal entry for August 10, 1939:

"How completely isolated a world the German people live in. A glance at the newspapers yesterday and today reminds you of it. Whereas all the rest of the world considers that the peace is about to be broken by Germany, that it is Germany that is threatening to attack Poland over Danzig, here in Germany, in the world the local newspapers create, the very reverse is being maintained. ... What the Nazi papers are proclaiming is this: that it is Poland which is disturbing the peace of Europe; Poland which is threatening Germany with armed invasion, and so forth. ...

You ask: But the German people can't possibly believe these lies? Then you talk to them. So many do."

"It is time for European nations to show their mettle" is the headline of today's editiorial from The Decatur Daily: Mettle, naturally, with respect to the clear and present danger of Iran's hypothetical future aggression. ...

The Decatur editorialist remarks that "the United States should not have a monopoly on the prevention of wars of mass destruction." ... And if it takes tactical nuclear weapons to prevent such a war, then so be it. "All options," once again, are on the table. And just as with Iraq, the military option is pegged the reluctant "last resort."
That would be the paper from Decatur, Alabama, whose editorial is here. Read it in light of this report:
The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States.
BEGIN TO COLOR SHE: The St. Petersburg Times gets revenge against Cruella.
"It was because the newspapers colorized my photograph," she said last week on a radio show hosted by Sean Hannity.

Harris, a Sarasota congresswoman who today announces her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, didn't say which newspapers altered her unique look. Most papers, including this one, have strict rules against doctoring photographs.

But that doesn't mean you can't experiment with Harris' look if you want to. Here's an outline for you to work with. If you don't have Maybelline, Crayolas will suffice.
Yes, that's right, it's a printable uncolorized drawing of Florida's former vote "counter", Katherine Harris, ready for kids of all ages, at "Extreme Makeover: Harris Edition". (Found, as is so much else, at The Sideshow.)

Jane Hamsher at firedoglake begins with a picture, then starts this tale.
Recently, the TV Talking Head Most Likely to Annoy Me -- Tucker Carlson -- has made two comments on his desperately inadequate ratings debacle The Situation wherein he praised the French government for sending two agents to blow up the Greenpeace Ship The Rainbow Warrior in 1985 when it was used to protest against French nuclear testing at Muroroa Atoll:
Then she quotes the jerk to let him destroy himself further in the eyes of civilized human beings, then she closes with another picture, and breaks your heart. Read it all at Tucker Carlson: How Low Can You Go?, and never forget.

What Cindy Sheehan does is less important that the reaction she provokes. She has become the Iraqi Occupation's John Wiley Price. Price is a County Commissioner here in Dallas, the only Democrat and the only African-American in that position. He has often sparked violent hatred just by picketing, demonstrating, and marching against what he sees as instances of racism in the community. Even some white Democrats displayed their indoctrination by the reactionary establishment here, accepting the propaganda that he was pro-crime because he dared to accuse the Dallas Police of racist actions. He goes on witnessing for the truth as he sees it, giving rednecks a chance to show their own true colors.

Sheehan already met with Bush many months ago, and there is nothing either of them can say that will change the other's mind. Her demand to meet him again has become a symbol for both opponents of the Occupation and blind Bush chauvinists. What is most revealing is the venom which those Bu'ushistas have heaped on her head, in a campaign to vilify her as traitorous, as though that refuted the obvious failure of his policies abroad. You can read the tale of just one of these "Swift Boat"-style attacks on her at Media Matters for America's Cindy Sheehan "changed her story on Bush"? Tracking a lie through the conservative media.

One of the leaders of the rabid crusade against this possibly silly but justifiably mourning mother is a far right columnist named Michelle Malkin. (No, I won't link to her, but there is a wonderful parody of some of her old rants at this page by Rox Populi, who is still on her case.) Most noted for a book supporting the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II, Malkin is still practicing her verbal tar-and-feathering of any who dare challenge Our Maximum Leader's policies while we are at war. She not only still pushes the disproven claim of Sheehan's change of heart (as though that would be relevant if true to whether she is correct now), but today she added more flames to the fire, passing on a charge that Sheehan's long-separated husband is finally filing for divorce (again, as though that is relevant to her views: implying "she must wrong about the futility of her son's death, because she can't keep her marriage together".)

A generally neutral summary of the whole affair is at The Moderate Voice, which comments:
The vehemence of the criticism aimed at Sheehan (who, as you can see is no political shrinking violent) is bound to have a backlash in some quarters. Why? Because this kind of massive effort in going after someone who takes on the administration has happened many times before. Rightfully or wrongfully, the image that's coming across is that if you cross the administration, whether you deserve it or not, you could get nailed to the cross. And that's the danger: Sheehan's foes are giving her the image of a martyr.
She has now become, like our sacrificial troops stationed in South Korea, where they are intended to die and arouse righteous wrath at home if the north ever attacks again, a trip wire that is activating the anti-war movement. If Bush had either spoken to her quietly early, or his minions had just continued to ignore her, she would not have become a symbol. Now the vile war against her is sparking support across the country for an end to all the lies behind the Occupation. When the next Democratic President is elected, she may just award a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Cindy Sheehan.

UPDATE: Former Senator and would-have-been Democratic Presidential candidate Gary Hart just posted an item about this today that is magnificent. Go read it all now at "A Voice Crying in the Wilderness". As Democrats, we should be embarrassed by the truth he states; as Americans, we should be inspired by the alternative he presents.
SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY: According to the Washington Post:
U.S. troops raiding a warehouse in the northern city of Mosul uncovered a suspected chemical weapons factory containing 1,500 gallons of chemicals believed destined for attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces and civilians, military officials said Saturday. ...

Boylan said the suspected lab was new, dating from some time after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Bush administration cited evidence that Saddam Hussein's government was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for the invasion. No such weapons or factories were found.
Remember that, once before, our legions claimed to have found Iraqi chemical weapons that turned out not to be. If this is true, it reminds me of an exchange in the movie Addams Family Values. When another girl at camp asks Wednesday why she is dressed in black as though someone had died, Wednesday says "Wait." Just as she did at the Thanksgiving pageant in that movie, the natives are now trying to scalp and burn the occupiers.
THE SECRET LEFTIST BASTION?: Kimberly at A Little Pollyanna spotted this seemingly counterintuitive news in the Austin American-Statesman:
...Dallas ... is, by a long shot, Texas' liberal bastion, according to the Bay Area Center for Voting Research. The nonprofit think tank based in Berkeley, Calif. ... ranked 237 U.S. cities on the liberal-to-conservative spectrum, based on results from the 2004 presidential election. The group named Austin the 93rd most liberal city in the land, just slightly bluer on the electoral map than Virginia Beach and Salt Lake City.

Dallas was 32nd, two slots more liberal than Madison, Wis. ...

The rankings threaten to obliterate a tradition of snide remarks about the capital city from less-liberal burgs such as Plano (fifth most conservative U.S. city, the study says), Abilene (third most conservative) and Lubbock (No. 2, trailing/leading only Provo, Utah).
This surprised people many people, even though I've been telling them for years that Democrats tend to carry the city of Dallas -- it's only all those suburbs that make the county look Republican. (Just barely so anymore; how many other places elected a Lesbian Hispanic Sheriff last year?) The San Francisco Chronicle has more:
Three Bay Area cities were among the 10 most liberal in the nation, the study found, with Berkeley placing third, Oakland fifth, and San Francisco ninth.

Overall, the study found that the nation's most liberal cities tend to have large black populations and large numbers of single adults.

Detroit topped the list of most liberal cities, followed by Gary, Indiana. Washington, Inglewood, Calif., Newark, N.J., Cambridge, Mass., and Flint, Mich., rounded out the top 10.

"While there are a few liberal cities without large African-American populations, these wind up being the exceptions," wrote researcher Phil Reiff.
Dallas' own Byron gives more facts in the comments on this at Off the Kuff:
A Democratic precinct chair in Dallas County, Tom Blackwell actually calculated the results in the City of Dallas. This includes the portions of the city of Dallas in Collin and Denton Counties as well. Kerry won Dallas by 54,000 votes, Gore won by 31,000. ...

City of Dallas Results:

John F. Kerry 200,854
George W. Bush 146,952

Gore/Lieberman - 167,777
Bush/Cheney - 136,350
One other commenter there says "According to their data, Kerry took 75% of the City of Dallas vote." Byron says that Tom's figures "would suggest that it should be about 57% Liberal (since that was roughly Kerry's percentage in the city)". One possible explanation might be if the Center didn't realize that Dallas also contained those (basically WASP Republican) precincts in the two other counties, and only figured on the basis of the Dallas County part of the city.

The whole thing is still an example of "garbage in, garbage out" if you are trying to find out which cities are most liberal. To paraphrase our former U.S. Senator, "I know liberals. Liberals are friends of mine. Senator Kerry was no liberal." That supporter of the Patriot Act, advocate of more troops for the Preemptive War On Iraq (even calling for a "voluntary" draft if you wanted to graduate from high school), and unquestioning backer of the War On Drug Users, was an all too typical moderate establishment corporatist Democrat. Sure, lots of us voted for him as far better than Bush (and still would, given the same choice), but the vote totals in that race are no way to determine a city's ideology.
In Crawford Friday, Bob Edgar, National Council of Churches general secretary and a former member of Congress, predicted shortly before leading a prayer service that the stalemate will end soon.

"We believe that the president will meet with Cindy," Edgar told The Chronicle. "Because he's a good man and he knows that it's the right thing to do. He just hasn't realized it yet."

Saturday, August 13, 2005

BETWEEN A TIGRESS AND HER CUB: Jurassic Pork at Yep, another Goddamned blog gets all classical in passing about Cindy Sheehan's campout at Crawford.
Increasingly, wounded soldiers and grieving families are beginning to wonder if it was all worth it. Imagine how the Marathon messenger would've felt if, after collapsing and at the point of death, the last thing he hears on this earth is, "Shit, this is old news," then the crumpling of parchment. Then, before the final fade to black, "Think they should've given him a horse?" "We ordered them years ago but they still haven't come in."
Read it all at " Emerson, You Magnificent Bastard, She Read Your Book!"
MARCHING TO SHIBBOLETH: Norbizness parses the news about Rummy's latest folly.
"The Pentagon would hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing today."

I think that this entirely appropriate, as one of bin Laden's biggest grievances against the West was the increasing blandness and homogenization of the sound of modern country music. ...

"The march will start at the Pentagon, where nearly 200 people died on September 11, 2001, and end at the National Mall with a show by country star Clint Black."

All proceeds from the event will go to buying millions of copies of Jackie DeShannon's "Put a Little Love In Your Heart" to drop on the enemy forces in Iraq. In addition, all attendees will get their choice of (1) magnetic ribbons or (2) prayer cloths for physically or mentally injured veterans. Body armor and Haldol are inventions of Satan, after all.
Read it all at "I Love a Parade!". (Found at Daily Pepper.)

Monday, August 08, 2005

A REPORT FROM THE BATTLEFIELD: Dallas County Democratic Precinct Chair John Tackaberry was one of several people from around the country who were on the scene to help Paul Hackett's race for Congress in Ohio in recent weeks. As I predicted, the Republicans have been engaging in extremely silly spin as they whistle in the dark after Hackett came very close to winning in that very Republican district. Responding to some ridiculousness in our local "newspaper", John has sent them this letter, which I reprint here since we never can tell if they will:
Re your barb directed this morning at Marine Major Paul Hackett (recent candidate in the Ohio special election to fill the vacant 2nd District Congressional seat) and his comments about the current (laughably named) "Commander-in-Chief," you are waaaay off the mark!

As probably the only Texan who traveled to Ohio during the closing weeks of the campaign, let me assure you and your readers that Paul's comments were well-chosen, appropriate, and accurate! The current "C-in-C" (our former Governor who currently holds some other office in our nation's capital) has disgraced said office by sending dedicated Marines (and thousands of other military personnel) into a war based upon lies, falsified information, and political chicanery of the lowest order.

Major Hackett's sentiments are not only shared by Marines. I know a recently-separated Army platoon leader whose words to me indicated similar sentiments in that branch, too. So, perhaps Paul Hackett is on to something, articulating sentiments which loyal, patriotic Americans recognize need to be stated.

And surely you have to admit that on the anniversary of the date 4 yours ago when our vacationing former Governor was just down the road at his Crawford ranchette -- a date when said former Governor blithely ignored a warning of an impending attack upon our country by Osama and company--your criticism of an Iraqi veteran (who answered the call to serve his country without a trip to an Alabama senatorial campaign instead of the Alabama National Guard many years ago) is the height of arrogance!

Mark my words ... your comments about Paul and his honesty and frankness will pale into insignificance once he takes a US Senate seat in the near future!

Further, I had thought that the Morning News had lost such partisan churlishness upon the retirement of Rena Pederson!... If I didn't know better, I would swear she had returned ... or, has The DMN recently been purchased by The Cincinnati Enquirer!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

RULE #1 FOR POLITICIAN--BLOGGER RELATIONS: Never, ever, do something stupid enough to get julia of Sisyphus Shrugged digging into your case. Consider the way she deals with Katherine Harris' claims that the evil media retouched her photos. Julia helpfully found evidence from Cruella's supporters' own photos with that would-be candidate for the Senate, and from the jacket of Harris' own book, so that you can judge those accusations for yourself. Go watch the mistress of the bloggy scalpel at work in "oh, the poor darling".
WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING GALILEOS: Tom Burka has the latest breaking news.
The White House announced today that President Bush would henceforth determine the scientific curriculum to be taught in America's schools. ...

Bush was also skeptical about what he called "the notion of gravity." "I'm uncomfortable with teaching our children that bodies are attracted to each other," he said. "That seems like an unwholesome idea to put into children's heads, don't it?" He speculated that objects fall to the ground because "God wants them to."
MEET THE NEW WAR: The Bush administration is already manufacturing the myths to justify the attack on Iran. According to the NY Times:
Many of the new, more sophisticated roadside bombs used to attack American and government forces in Iraq have been designed in Iran and shipped in from there, United States military and intelligence officials said Friday, raising the prospect of increased foreign help for Iraqi insurgents.
But apparently the Grey Lady has learned a little from the lies it allowed Judith Miller to print unchallenged about WMDs, after she was fed them by advocates of the war. This time they at least bothered to ask for another opinion.
But some Middle East specialists discount any involvement by the Iranian government or Hezbollah, saying it would be counter to their interests to support Iraq's Sunni Arab insurgents, who have stepped up their attacks against Iraqi Shiites. These specialists suggest that the arms shipments are more likely the work of criminals, arms traffickers or splinter insurgent groups.

"Iran's protégés are in control in Iraq right now, yet these weapons are going to people fighting Iran's protégés," said Kenneth Katzman, a Persian Gulf expert at the Congressional Research Service and a former Middle East analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. "That makes little sense to me."

One of Iran's top priorities is to get the United States out of Iraq, which means keeping up the violence there. At the same time, that clearly works against their other goal, which is to get religious Shiites in power and keep them in power. Right now, popular support for the government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, which is friendly toward Iran, is waning because it cannot deal effectively with the Sunni-based insurgency.
This doesn't necessarily mean the establishment's journal has finally come to its senses. I fully expect them to join the sycophantic chorus when Bush finally starts bombing Tehran, but at least they've thrown a small token gesture to the truth.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

MORE ON THE STRANGE RESULTS: According to billmon, Tuesday's conveniently "late" returns from Clermont County in the Ohio special election for Congress, are only too typical.
The apparent win by Republican Jean Schmidt in Tuesday's 2nd Congressional District election was in no way shocking, but the fact that Democrat Paul Hackett made it a very close election is nothing short of astounding.

Seven weeks ago, when Schmidt won an 11-candidate primary, few on either side believed that, in a district where President Bush won 64 percent of the vote last fall and no Democrat had come close to winning the House seat in decades, this would be much of a contest at all
So the blind Bush loyalists did pull it out with their lies and sleazy campaigning against Hackett. The good news is that they only barely made it.
In a race that had been the focus of national attention, Republican Jean Schmidt beat Democrat Paul Hackett for the 2nd Congressional District seat – though by far less than Republicans had anticipated a few short weeks ago.

With all precincts reporting, Schmidt had 52 percent of the vote to Hackett’s 48 percent – the closest election in the district since 1974.
This is an inspiring result, which the GOP and its captive pundits will now try to ignore or deny the meaning of, but the handwriting is on the wall. Hackett and everyone who worked in or gave to his effort deserve congratulations and thanks. As Swing State Project reported
The mood is jubilant as we look forward to 2006. When Howard Dean was elected as DNC Chair, he made a promise to fight in every precinct, in every district, and in every state. For the past several weeks the future of the party, the grassroots, came together and fought a fight that the pundit political class said wasn't worth fighting. Consider this the opening salvo of the 2006 election cycle.
But there is something more ominous about the results, which we here in Texas will recognize at once.

In 1941 Lyndon Johnson ran for the U.S. Senate from Texas. He lost because of late reporting counties in east Texas, whose racist and reactionary political machines supported his opponent, and added enough votes at will to overcome LBJ's lead. Seven years later Johnson ran again, but this time he had learned his lesson, and was not going to let those thugs steal his victory again. Once again, the racist and reactionary counties of east Texas were backing his opponent. This time LBJ made sure that some of his supporters in south Texas held back their county returns until they knew how many votes were needed to overcome the padded totals for his opponent. They finally reported just the margin he needed, and Johnson won by 87 votes, which was later upheld by various hearings. He became known as "Landslide Lyndon". He went on to give us the Civil Rights Acts, the War on Poverty, and a host of other progressive programs,

Here's something else from that second story quoted above:
After all six other counties in the district had completed their ballot counts in what was a low-turnout election, Schmidt’s home county, Clermont, had reported a little more than half of its precincts. “I have no idea what is going on over there,’’ said Hamilton County Board of Elections chairman Tim Burke. “I don’t know what their problem is.’’

Hackett, the Indian Hill lawyer, and won Brown, Adams, Scioto and Pike counties.

In Hamilton County, the largest of the seven counties, Schmidt led by 51 percent to 49 percent of the votes, about 1,400. Clermont finally reported its final vote tally around 11 p.m.