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September 29, 2006

Is the Yes on 933 campaign illegally fundraising for Initiative 933?

I sent an email to the Washington State Campaign Disclosure Commission (PDC) asking them to look into the Yes on 933 campaign fundraising efforts. So, earlier this week, the Yes on 933 folks launched a misleading ad campaign under the organization name "Citizen Taxpayers Association" - but this organization isn't registered with the PDC - and I think legally they are supposed to. The reason for these rules is so that voters know who is behind each initiative and where the money is coming from. Transparency is the goal. And when campaigns break the rules - they are often trying to hide something and mislead voters. Furthermore, the contact information on the Citizen Taxpayer Association YesOn933.com site is the same mailing address for the Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights at http://proprights.org/contact.htm. Screen shots below show this. The address is 718 Griffin Avenue Suite #7, Enumclaw, Wa. 98022

At the very least, this is misleading to voters. But at worst it could show that either the Yes on 933 folks are violating campaign laws by fundraising under an unregistered entity or that the Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights is fundraising under an unregistered group name.

And finally, the yeson933.com domain name is registered to Property Fairness Coalition. So, why is the Property Fairness Coalition, the group properly registered with the PDC, raising money under the name Citizen Taxpayers' Association - an apparently unregistered group? and why does this unregistered entity have the same contact / mailing address as the Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights a third group?

This just leads me to ask why? And who is behind this? And what is the agenda of the yes on 933 team?

Read my full post here

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Posted by Jeff on September 29, 2006 at 05:43 PM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (6)

Torture: Acceptable Now in the United States of America

So, now that I can again digest some of what folks have been doing and thinking and saying, here’s what I understand about what just happened in the realm of torture.  It appears that a slight majority of both houses of our Congresscritters say it’s okay for the US to torture a real live human being, even if they found that person in a rather haphazard manner, if the examples from the last three years are the norm. 

Here’s what Billmon said as we went into the discussion on torture in the Senate last month:

We are, in a sense, at the moment of truth. The sadistic and/or bizarre acts committed in Guatanamo, Abu Ghraib and the CIA's secret prisons can be written off as the crimes of a few bad apples with names like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld -- or, more charitably, as the consequences of a string of bad and brutal decisions made under emergency conditions by men who were terrified by all the things they didn't know about Al Qaeda. Either way, they were not acts of national policy, endorsed and approved by Congress after open, public debate. But, thanks to the Hamdan decision, the question is now formally on the table . . . So now we'll find out, I guess, what we're really made of as a nation -- down deep, in our core.

That both Houses of our government have just passed a bill that allows torture is beyond me.  It is of course mostly the Republicans, trying to protect the President and his minions from possible legal prosecution when the Democrats come back to power. And they somehow hope to help their lousy position in the elections this fall.  What – Vote for Republicans; they approve of torture?  Is that position really likely to win them more votes? 

But the Democrats in the Senate are capable of stopping anything if they really want to and they did not stop this bill. First they sat back and expected that the Republican “mavericks” would do their work for them.  Then, when McCain, Warner and Graham punked them yet one more time, there was little time to rally a defense.  Pathetic. 

This reminds me of the October 2002 bill that the Democrats went along with giving President Bush the right to go to war with Iraq for fear of being seen as weak on security.  And look where that got us – as Democrats, as a nation.

Waterboarding

Here’s some information about the water-boarding torture that we’ve been hearing about lately, that is now approved for use by US interrogators under certain circumstances, i.e. when the President approves of it.

The most common, recent uses of waterboarding have been in Cambodia.  It is simulated drowning, wrapping the victim’s face in saran wrap and pouring water over him.  People to whom this has been done say it is terrifying.  And it will make them say anything to make it stop.  Anything, even if it is not true.

Here’s what David Corn says – and, if you have the stomach for it, there are photos as well:

The specific types of abuse they're taught to withstand are those that were used by our Cold War adversaries. Why is this relevant to the current debate? Because the torture techniques of North Korea, North Vietnam, the Soviet Union and its proxies--the states where US military personnel might have faced torture--were NOT designed to elicit truthful information. These techniques were designed to elicit CONFESSIONS. That's what the Khymer Rouge et al were after with their waterboarding, not truthful information.

Bottom line: Not only do waterboarding and the other types of torture currently being debated put us in company with the most vile regimes of the past half-century; they're also designed specifically to generate a (usually false) confession, not to obtain genuinely actionable intel. This isn't a matter of sacrificing moral values to keep us safe; it's sacrificing moral values for no purpose whatsoever.

They were told.  Larry Johnson, former CIA agent and Republican, is now writing about national security issues at his blog, No Quarter.  He was one of a slew of knowledgeable signatories to a letter written to the U.S. Senators.  Here’s an excerpt:

We are very concerned that the proposals now before the Congress, concerning how to handle detainees suspected of terrorist activities, run the risk of squandering the greatest resource our country enjoys in fighting the dictators and extremists who want to destroy us--our commitment as a nation to the rule of law and the protection of divinely granted human rights.

Apart from the moral considerations, we believe it is important that the Congress send a clear message that torture is not an effective or useful tactic. As noted recently by the head of Army Intelligence, Lt. Gen. John Kimmons:

No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tells us that.

Here’s what John Kerry, who it seems has learned a thing or two about being punked, said yesterday in a speech at John Hopkins University:

We must start treating our moral authority as a precious national asset that does not limit our power but magnifies our influence. That seems obvious, but this Administration still doesn’t get it. Right now – today — they are trying to rush a bill through Congress that will fundamentally undermine our moral authority, put our troops at greater risk, and make our country less safe.

Let me be clear about something—something that it seems few people are willing to say. This bill permits torture. It gives the President the discretion to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions. No matter how much well-intended United States Senators would like to believe otherwise, it gives an Administration that lobbied for torture just what it wanted.

The only guarantee we have that these provisions really will prohibit torture is the word of the President. But we have seen in Iraq the consequences of simply accepting the word of this Administration. No, we cannot just accept the word of this Administration that they will not engage in torture given that everything they’ve already done and said on this most basic question has already put our troops at greater risk and undermined the very moral authority needed to win the war on terror.

The New York Times has an editorial about the passage of this bill in which they discuss the many ways this bill is flawed, entitled “Rushing Off a Cliff”.  Here’s what they say about Habeas Corpus, one of the worst offenses in my opinion, since it reverses one of the basic provisions of the Constitution (and will likely wind up being declared unconstitutional):

Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

The NYT says rightly that in the future people will not remember the flawed reasons of political expediency that propelled this bill forward, just the flawed thinking and flawed leaders who allowed it to happen.

Keep working toward a win on November 7th.  We are in the last two days of the quarter.  Good time to give money to our Northwest Blue candidates: Darcy Burner, Peter Goldmark and Larry Grant.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 29, 2006 at 12:02 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Torture Thing Getting Me Down

I have been carrying around a heaviness about writing the last few days.  Having to deal with the issues of US government reactions to both torture and Habeas Corpus at the same time is really getting me down.  Normally I consider that I have a pretty big tolerance for the crap (sorry Barbara – I have a set of mostly older readers who greatly appreciate that I can bring them a progressive perspective on the news without using bad language) that the Republicans throw at us. 

But these last couple days, I realize I’ve been reluctant to write.  I’ve collected a lot of pieces that I would normally write up and discuss but haven’t done much with yet. Mostly I’ve been putting up video-clips of Democrats going after their Republican opponents in creative ways or of Keith Olbermann speaking truth on something of importance to us right now.  It provides me with the hope that I’ve badly needed while digesting this huge sorrow – this awareness that we cannot seem to find a bottom line as a nation, a line below which we will not go.

And luckily Jeff stepped into what might have been a vacuum at exactly the right time with real live important information and visuals about that nasty I-933.

I was reminded of a Tibetan word, loong, that describes a feeling of extreme lethargy and occurs when people meditate “too hard” for too long.  That’s how I felt yesterday morning.  I could only skim the headlines; it was too hard to read the details, to sort out who had voted for, voted against. 

So, yesterday afternoon, I managed to get some time in with a friend whom I could cry with.  And I did. I wailed about what was happening to my country, just let it go.  And after a few minutes and talking some more and wailing some more, I felt ever so much better. 

Not that a damned thing has changed (sorry again, Barbara, once I get this out, I’ll be able to behave myself again once more).

But I can go back to reading about it without that tremendous heaviness.  I can go back to reading and analyzing and articulating – this odd job I’ve sort of taken on in the world that we casually call “blogger”, all of us who spend time reading and writing on the blogosphere. We are the early adopters and our job is to communicate what we see to the next group of folks in society – the folks who wait to read or watch it in more digested form. 

Before I resume my blogging, starting with a piece on torture, I want to acknowledge on behalf of all of us, that this is not just intellectual or theoretical.  This is real and it impacts our lives and there will be times of sorrow, and if you’re into it as deeply as I am, times of loong.  There are reasons why people don’t follow the news.  It can truly be painful.  The trick, I think, is to acknowledge the pain and sorrow and then brush ourselves off and get back to work making the changes that will enable us to take our country back.  And, in my case, get some time with that delightful, almost 3-year old niece and go bicycling out to Golden Gardens and enjoy this incredible weather.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 29, 2006 at 09:57 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

September 27, 2006

Seattle Audubon Society Has Some Great Visuals on the Impact of Initiative 933

The Seattle Audubon Society is working to stop 933 because rampant development that the initiative would cause would remove habitat for many bird species that Washingtonians know and love. They've put together some of the best visuals of the campaign that I've seen:

This is the house your neighbor can build under current zoning in residential areas:

This is what your neighbor can build beside the house you just invested your life savings in:

I am voting no on 933 to save the value of my property - and preserve predictability and consistency in the Washington state real estate market.

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Posted by Jeff on September 27, 2006 at 11:54 PM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (8)

Yes on 933 is Lying to Rural Property Rights Activists about Eminent Domain

I've put up a detail post about the new Yes on 933 ads at my blog. It's clear the Yes on 933 folks polled and realized the only way they can win is to lie. So they are lying big time about eminent domain. The problem is - their initiative has nothing to do with eminent domain.

Their initiative is designed by and for developers to build strip malls on farmland wherever they want. The ad is bizarre and exploits the worst sentiments about government and politicians.

Read my full post here

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Posted by Jeff on September 27, 2006 at 11:38 PM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (0)

NewsCloud Coverage in the Seattle Times Today

I've been missing in action from Evergreen Politics for awhile - but Lynn is clearly holding up the fort and then some. That said, it's because I've been working on my progressive social news site: NewsCloud.com. Please give it a try and email me your thoughts on the site.

NewsCloud

Blogging still personal

Blogs have long been a home for personal essays and observations, but they're also a key tool for citizen journalists. Some of the best-known citizen journalism sites started off as blogs, but have since acquired a more professional sheen. A notable example is Talking Points Memo, a well-read, three-employee political blog that its creator says is profitable.

"What's powerful about what the Web has done is it allowed a lot more voices and information to make it to the surface than ever before," said Jeff Reifman, a Seattle software developer who worked at Microsoft for eight years. Reifman recently redesigned his news-aggregator site and changed its name from CommonTimes to NewsCloud.

But writing is difficult, he said, and it takes time and expertise to cover a "beat."

Generally, people who write blogs are not in it to break news. A recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life project said that only a third of the 12 million American adults who keep a blog consider them to be journalism.

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Posted by Jeff on September 27, 2006 at 11:41 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Elizabeth Edwards on Oprah Today

Elizabeth, John and Cate Edwards will be on Oprah today discussing Elizabeth's new book, "Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers."  In an email he sent out, John Edwards describes the book as being about how people and the relationships we create -- with friends, family, colleagues, even strangers -- make life worth living.

They also make a few pages of her book available online (if you sign up to be on their mailing list), and she is a damn good writer.  I read it over breakfast and enjoyed it a lot.  Oprah airs at 4:00 in Seattle, Yakima and Spokane; in Seattle on King5.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 27, 2006 at 08:06 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 26, 2006

Young Virginians Talk to George Allen

This YouTube phenomenon is giving the Democrats a huge advantage over the Republicans.  It's what happens when the most creative people are with us.  I found this ad after talking about the many folks who are going after Allen, thus leaving Webb to concentrate on the critical war issues.  Proves the point.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 26, 2006 at 06:24 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Webb Ad

I am particularly fond of James Webb and particularly convinced that George Allen does not belong in the Senate.  So, it is with great pleasure that I see Webb's fine campaigning as evidenced by this incredible ad on national security and Allen's lack of leadership.  I particularly like that he uses the word "occupation" to describe what we are doing in Iraq.

Of course, Webb is in the enviable position of getting to concentrate on the issues he wants to, knowing that the blogs, the traditional press, political consultants and even the conservative press all are taking on the job of raising the issues of Allen's racism so that he doesn't have to.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 26, 2006 at 06:10 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Latest Burner-Reichert Poll: The Details

I have a lot more about the Emily's List poll results that I referred to last night and the details provide much potential upside for Darcy.  Here's what we have:

  • Burner's favorable/unfavorables are 33%/13% with 46% who haven't heard of her or have no opinion
  • Reichert's favorable/unfavorables are 46%/35% with only 20% who have not heard of him or have no opinion
  • Reichert's job approval ratings are 40% and a whopping 46% unfavorable with 13% saying they don't know
  • Burner's name recognition is 46% and Reichert's name recognition is 81%
  • The race is too close to call today with 44% saying they would vote for Reichert and 43% saying they would vote for Burner

The report that I got from the campaign indicates "significant opportunities to grow name recognition amongst younger voters, especially women, parents, the less well-educated, and residents of Pierce County".   The poll was done by Grove Insight.  400 8th CD voters were contacted between Sept. 18-21 and the margin of error (MoE) is 4.9%.

The rest of the good news is in the generic opinions of the voters for Republicans and Democrats and especially against Bush.  In a generic match-up, the 8th CD voters favor the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate by a margin of 10%.  The poll indicates that 44% favor a generic Democrat and 34% favor a generic Republican.  Bush's favorable/nonfavorables are 36%/59%.  That is hugely bad.  And worse yet, his job approval rating in the 8th is 28% while the disapproval rating is 71%. 

Whew!  Not a good year to be a Republican in the 8th CD.  Now, of course, these hopeful numbers mean nothing if the campaign can't act on them.  The only way Darcy can make use of this potential good news is if she gets some help.  Turnout is absolutely critical.  Give and volunteer.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 26, 2006 at 11:15 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 25, 2006

Clinton, Olbermann and Courage

Crooks and Liars has two must-see video-clips up.  The first is a 20-minute video of Chris Wallace's deceptive interview of President Clinton.   Clinton was astounding.  He owned that time despite Wallace's truly disrespectful and dishonest questions. If you haven't seen it, you must.  Fox has been spinning this interview like crazy so it's valuable to see what Clinton actually said. 

Sara Robinson, writing at Orcinus, has more on Clinton's courage on telling the truth in the face of unremitting rewriting of history and a dishonest Fox News interview.  Titled, "The Big Dog Bites Back", it too is great.

Then Keith Olbermann weighed in on what Clinton did versus what Bush does.  With this ongoing set of Special Comments, Olbermann steps firmly into Edward R. Murrow's shoes, down to his famous sign off - "Good night and good luck".

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 25, 2006 at 10:54 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

New Poll Has Burner and Reichert Even

Emily's List, the national organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to Congress, commissioned a poll in the 8th CD that has Darcy Burner and Dave Reichert neck and neck at 44-43.  For an incumbent to be this close at this point in the campaign is not good for him. 

I was at an Emily's List event this evening with Ellen Malcolm, Executive Director of Emily's List, which Darcy Burner attended and spoke at.  While we were still milling around, Darcy and I were talking and she mentioned this poll and said she had not yet heard the results but suspected they were good.  Emily's List has been helping Darcy from the beginning but they are now going to help her raise money from their very substantial membership nationally.  Like the DCCC, Emily's List is very calculating about where they put their money.  They like winners. 

Darcy spoke first, sharing her passion about changing the course of this country.  Then Ellen spoke and talked about the national political scene, the twelve Democratic women she expects to win new Congressional seats and then about the results of the poll they had commissioned in the 8th.  She said she was not allowed to share the information until it was made public but she had given the news to a political reporter that afternoon and now felt free to share it with Seattle's Emily's List gang. 

Ellen went on to talk about Emily's List plans to target the undecided voters, the 13% of the likely voters in the 8th who have not yet decided whether they are voting for Darcy or Reichert.  She said she was feeling pretty confident about how the vote would go and looked forward to having Darcy in DC and having Nancy Pelosi as House Majority Leader. 

I thought I'd come home and find the news on either the PI or Seattle Times website so I didn't ask Ellen about the details.  As a result, I got the scoop but can't for sure tell you whether it is 44/43 in favor of Burner or Reichert.  Not that it matters.  It's a statistical tie. And we'll know in the morning from whichever reporter got that story. 

 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 25, 2006 at 09:20 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

George Allen is Toast

Chris Matthews interviews Larry Sabato, of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and a national political commentator, on Hardball about whether or not George Allen used the N-word when he was in college.  The answer is "Yes", no matter what George Allen himself is saying.  Take a look.

Sabato grew up in Virginia and says that it is changing fast and is no longer as redneck and racist as it was when he was growing up, thank goodness.  It is more a purple state than a red state and has outgrown George Allen and his redneck cowboy persona.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 25, 2006 at 09:00 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Imagine a Democratic Congress

Chris Bowers has a partial list of what would change if we manage to pull off this election and take back both houses of Congress.  Here's his list:

  • No more Joe Lieberman. Like ever.
  • No more wailing and gnashing of teeth over how Democrats need to do better among religious voters, evangelical voters, "values" voters--whatever you want to call it. No longer will Democrats be told we have to work to swing the Republican base in order win elections.
  • No more wailing and gnashing of teeth over how Democrats need to do better among "security moms," Latinos, southerners, exurbia, the border states, or any other newly invented pseudo-demographic that tries to explain Republican victories in a way that the David Brooks set can conceptualize.
  • No more "Karl Rove is a genius" discussions (although we will have to tolerate the "Rahm Emmanuel is a genius" discussions).
  • Lots of "Bush is a lame duck" discussions.
  • Talk of a big Democratic trifecta in 2008.
  • No more discussions over privatizing Social Security, increasing the Bush tax cuts, invading Iran, ending Net Neutrality, destroying the estate tax, deporting immigrants, Samuel Alito 2 on the Supreme Court, CAFTA 2, or anything else that either passed narrowly or was defeated narrowly in the last two years. None of that will even be on the table or ever come up for a vote.
  • Fights over real election reform, real increases to the minimum wage, real energy security, real global warming initiatives, and real increases in health care coverage. Those will all be so popular that Bush will be hard pressed to stop anything that a Democratic Congress passes. And that is just for starters.
  • Real investigations into Iraq war intelligence, Iraq war profiteering, warrant-less wiretapping, journalist payola propaganda, and everything John Conyers sees fit to investigate.
  • No more "the netroots are dangerous and unelectable" discussions (OK, maybe I am too optimistic on that one.
  • The greatly decreased relevance of David Broder.
  • Instead of George Bush being Time's "Person of the Year," it will probably be "the blogger" or something like that.

One of the MyDD commenters, msnook, added a few:

  • I'd like my habeas corpus back please.
  • I'd like every soldier to have body armor.
  • I'd like every veteran to have health care (that means a ride to the damn hospital!).
  • No more no-bid or cost-plus contracts.
  • I'd like fewer 3-letter acronyms, can John Conyers investigate that?
  • I know the country isn't ready for it yet, but we should really abolish the death penalty soon. And if Democrats gain ground for a few cycles, we might could put that back on the table.
  • A "Defense of Marriage" act that enforced child support, dealt with domestic abuse and spousal rape, ensured children guardians ad litem that made a living wage, and didn't once mention sexual orientation except to preclude it from consideration in the adoption process.
  • Fund our public schools, pay our teachers, buy our children books.
  • Defund the war on pot.
  • Dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.
  • Give me back my student loans.
  • Make gifts of college tuition tax-deductible.

I'd add a couple to these lists:

  • A real conservation/energy/public transportation policy
  • No more unfunded mandates for the states
  • Public financing of elections  

What would you add?

I often despair that we are simply going to be cleaning up after the 6 worst years of our nation's history.  So, I'm glad to take a moment to see what we might be able to do in a positive direction as well.  And of course this is only a momentary glimpse of a possible future.  We have a lot of work to do in the next 43 days. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 25, 2006 at 11:32 AM in National and International Politics, Policy | Permalink | Comments (1)

Darcy's Second Ad

Darcy has a second ad that will be going up today on local TV.  The topic is taking care of our vets, somthing that Dave Reichert and the Republican leadership don't do, as evidenced by their voting record and by the retired generals lined up to tell us so.

Here's the YouTube version.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 25, 2006 at 11:00 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Darcy Gains More From Rove Visit than Reichert

Reichert only picked up $3000 from new donors, three people at $1000 apiece?  Maybe Rove's vaunted fund-raising ability is drying up.  Wouldn't that be a shame?  Or maybe, Republicans are just tired of throwing good money after bad. 

If the FEC reports are to be believed, Darcy Burner gained more from Karl Rove's visit to Medina 10 days ago than Dave Reichert did - by a long shot.  Coolaqua's blog did the research on the financial impact of Rove's visit on Reichert's fundraising.  Here's what he says:

Karl Rove's fundraiser for Dave Reichert was held on September 15th, and the Washington State Primary Election was held on September 19th.  The Federal Election Commission FEC requires that FEC form 6 be filed within 48 hours of contributions of $1,000 or more received after the 20th day, but more than 48 hours, before 12:01 a.am. of the day of any election in which the candidate participates.

Since the Karl Rove fundraiser was held within the required reporting period specified by the FEC for the Washington State Primary, Dave Reichert's FEC Form 6 (go to p. 2 for figures) would have to report all donations of $1,000 or more received at the Karl Rove fundraiser for the Primary.

An inspection of Republican Dave Reichert's FEC Form 6 for September 15th indicates he received a total of $5500 in donations in increments of $1,000 or more for the primary.  And of that amount $2500 was from an out of state PAC from Alexandria Virginia.

When it was first announced that Rove would be coming to campaign for Reichert, Darcy replied to a reporter's question about it with a comment something like (I couldn't find the reference, sorry), "That's great.  When Bush came, we got more money out of the trip than Reichert did."  She was right and her campaign did a good job of taking advantage of Bush's trip and they outdid themselves with Rove's trip.

Apparently about 100 people, members of what Reichert calls his "Dome Club" listened to Rove speak, according to a Seattle Times article.  They had previously paid $1000 to hear four party leaders this year.  But whatever Rove said seems not to have inspired them.  Only 3 people reached into their wallets and wrote an additional check.  (Plus the Physical Therapist's PAC out of Alexandria, VA.  I wonder if their members know what their dues are being used for?)  That is not good news for Rove or Reichert.  I've been to a lot of fund-raisers and I know.  That is a miserable take. 

In contrast, Darcy received at least $156,230 from a 10-day special fund-raising campaign that her campaign set up to offset Rove's presence.  Maria Cantwell asked her own donors to help Darcy that week and her campaign for Darcy raised at least $43,755.  Pretty impressive.  One of these candidates is really surging in this race and it's not the guy who votes with Bush nearly 90% of the time. 

Add in the primary voting results, which have Darcy with 46,917 votes and Reichert with 44,973 votes.   I was out doorbelling for Darcy again yesterday and at least half the folks I talked to, who were coded as "Undecided" by the campaign, were firmly for Darcy and against Reichert.  A few were firmly for Reichert but the rest are still undecided.  It's looking good.  To keep up the momentum, go on over to Darcy's site and contribute money - end of the quarter is coming up here - or time. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 25, 2006 at 09:46 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1)

September 24, 2006

Great Anti-Lieberman Radio Ad

The Lamont campaign has a great radio ad up that pokes fun at Lieberman's lame attendance record.  Turns out that the Lamont campaign revealed that Lieberman has been skipping key votes on Iraq since the beginning of the war.  Here's Markos on the topic:

That's right, Lieberman has skipped a huge amount of Iraq votes on all sorts of key issues. For instance, he was the only U.S. Senator to skip a close vote on bipartisan legislation to urge President Bush to better engage America’s international allies to help bear the military and financial cost of the war. He was also the only senator to skip a close vote on a bill that would have created a federal agency overseeing Iraq reconstruction money so as to prevent war profiteering. He even skipped a vote on legislation sponsored by his Connecticut colleague Sen. Chris Dodd (D) that would have provided additional emergency funding for safety equipment such as body armor for troops serving in Iraq.

<snip>

That's no wonder that Lieberman doesn't want to talk about this issue, hold the Bush administration accountable for misleading the country to war, or get to the bottom of how to prevent such intelligence manipulation in the future--he skipped the key Senate vote to create an independent commission to investigate pre-war intelligence, thus allowing the administration and the GOP to control the investigation through a White House panel and Republican-controlled Senate committee.

Here's the ad.  Way to go, Lamont! 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 24, 2006 at 06:36 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Allen is Not Comfortable in His Own Skin

I've been trying to get my mind around George Allen's awkwardness with his newly public Jewishness.  I seem to remember people discussing his mother's Jewish heritage shortly after the "macaca" incident in the blogs.  She comes from a very prominent Sephardic Jewish family - the Lumbrosos, originally from Portugal, who escaped to Livorno, a part of Italy where Portuguese Jews became wealthy traders under the patronage of the Medicis, according to an article in the Jewish Daily Forward. 

Some of the family went to Tunisia, including Etty's forbearers.  Her father, Felix Lumbroso, imported wines and liquors, including the Cinzano brand.  It is not known what he did or what happened to him during the brief Nazi occupation of Tunisia in 1942-1943.  He may have been imprisoned; he may have been required to do manual labor; he may have cooperated with the Vichy French government; or he may have been a part of the resistance.  There are no records.  After the war, Felix lived in France with his family.  There are also no records of Etty's mother at any time, although it is assumed, given the conventions of the times, that she too was Jewish.

Allen claims not to have known, something that seems remarkably unlikely.  George Felix Allen was named after his Jewish grandfather.  Can you imagine not trying to find out all that you can about the grandparent you were named after?  Now, having been confronted with the question by reporters, he is clearly not comfortable discussing the issue.  His initial remarks indicate an awkwardness with the topic.  Newsweek captured the following: 

“I still had a ham sandwich for lunch. And my mother made great pork chops.” Being an eater of ham sandwiches and pork chops may go along with Allen’s Red State, cowboy-boot-wearing, Confederate-flag-waving image, but many observers were unnerved by the flippancy of these remarks, and pundits began to debate whether Allen’s Jewishness—and his strange reaction to it—would help or hurt his re-election campaign.

The blog, Raising Kaine, out of Virginia, has a respectful, historical perspective about George Allen's Jewish family background and about what this might have meant to Allen and his family. 

In short, it seems that George and his parents engaged in a lifelong “don’t ask – don’t tell” conspiracy. Etty has since made her true motivation clear. It was not the trauma of her father’s wartime experience that kept her silent. It was, sadly, more mundane than that: fifty years ago, large numbers of Americans were still blatantly racist and openly anti-Semitic. Etty’s relationship with her prospective husband’s family and his career prospects could and probably would have been harmed by disclosure of her Jewish heritage. And so, from her own instincts and at George Sr.’s urging, she kept mum. Hardly uncommon and by no means morally reprehensible.

All of this makes sense. And George Jr.’s studied ignorance of his family history begins to fall into place: he is, after all, his mother’s son. But his professions of ignorance contain a huge dose of implausibility: is he the Bubble Boy? Has he been kept in clinical isolation from his extended and extensive Lumbroso family through all of these decades? No contact, no conversations with aunts, uncles, cousins? I can tell you outright, and from experience, that it is impossible for a grown man to be unaware of the religion of half of his family…especially if it is a Jewish half!

The final explanation is elsewhere. In fact, residual anti-Semitism is far from dead in this country and, while it might no longer hurt so much to be Jewish, it still helps to be Gentile, especially if one is a low-level politician courting a white Southern constituency behind a cowboy persona. This approach turns out to be short-sighted, however, if the politician happens to have nationwide and presidential ambitions: sooner or later his family background – like that of John Kerry or Wesley Clark or Madeleine Albright – is doomed to come under the microscope. Allen should have realized that long ago. His past failure to deal with an impending problem and his current catastrophic attempts at damage control are not an encouraging sign of political competence or moral fiber.

I have a great appreciation for Allen's family's concern with anti-Semitism.  It was certainly real and, as we have learned recently, many families chose that route.  It is not uncommon.  However, others in similar positions, i.e. with Albright, Clark and Kerry, did not make such a hash of it when they found out. 

Family secrets, if not looked at, take a toll.  In George Allen's case, hiding the fact of his Jewishness appears to have contributed to a lack of curiosity about where he came from and an inability to figure out who he was.  So he made up a past for himself, trying on a southern 'ole boy persona that appears to fit unless he is challenged, rather like Bush.  As long as these guys are able to live in the "bubble" world of their choosing, their privilege and unwillingness to consider anything outside that world of privilege makes them fragile and in the end, uncomfortable in their own skin.  That privilege, combined with a lack of curiosity, is hideously detrimental to governing.  We have seen where that can lead us with Bush. 

I, for one, have no patience with it.  I'm done with these guys who have not worked out their personal stuff before trying to run the country.  I want people to lead us who are comfortable in their own skin. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 24, 2006 at 11:00 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

September 23, 2006

Rural Voters Trending Democratic

The rural swing vote if in play and is critical to the outcome of the November elections.   So says the results of a survey of likely rural voters sponsored by the Center for Rural Strategies.  The survey of rural likely voters was conducted in 41 of the nation's most competitive congressional districts and six of the states with competitive Senate races. 

NPR's Morning Edition reported the results earlier this week.  Anna Greenberg, the Democratic pollster who conducted the survey says that rural voters are split evenly between the Democrats and the Republicans in all of these critical races.  She adds:

It's a battle that could decide who controls the House and the Senate. Rural voters have been a critical part of the Republican base because Democrats are dominant in cities and the parties split the suburbs.

Bill Greener, a Republican consultant who helped design the poll and analyzed its results, says: 

Rural voters have given their votes to Republicans over the years… If we do not do well among (rural voters), it's hard to see how (we can) continue to prevail.

Why are rural voters changing their voting preferences?  A lot of it has to do with the war in Iraq.  Rural Americans are a lot closer to the impact of the war than city folk. 

Seventy-three percent of the survey respondents report they have family, friends or acquaintances who have served or are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. There's evidence that the military has a disproportionate number of troops from rural areas, and rural troops are dying at a disproportionate rate, according to an analysis of Pentagon statistics.

Dee David of the Center for Rural Strategies says:

The death rates from rural communities are about twice as high as they are from the largest communities. So those of us in rural areas have a real community knowledge of what war means, what the price is, what the sacrifices are.

That's not all of it of course.  Like the rest of us, rural voters are not happy with Bush and his policies.  Of those surveyed, 54 percent say they voted for the president in 2004 but 56 percent say the nation is now on the wrong track.  The Center plans to sponsor one more poll before the election. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 23, 2006 at 09:54 AM in Inside Baseball, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Darcy's Campaign Successes

This has been a good week for Darcy's campaign.  Dan has a great post detailing the money that has come in since Karl Rove's visit 8 days ago to raise money for Dave Reichert.  Upsides of $150,000 in 10 days.  Plus, she received more votes from Democrats in the primary than Reichert received from Republicans.  The numbers so far are 43,663 votes for Darcy to 42,375 for Reichert.  Nobody quite knows how these numbers translate to the general election but it seems like a good omen. 

Darcy and her campaign are determined.  They could still use help in volunteering and donations.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 23, 2006 at 08:15 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1)

Bin Laden Dead?

Both the Saudi and French intelligence forces are saying that Osama bin Laden is either gravely ill or dead.  The reports add that he appears to have contracted a "water-borne disease", likely typhoid, and was unable to get proper medical attention.  Time Magazine has the story.

Some of the national bloggers have noted that Bush has been talking a lot about bin Laden again, after barely mentioning him for years.  They had postulated that this election cycle's "October surprise" would therefore have to do with catching bin Laden.  The news of bin Laden's illness and death, if true, will certainly  get a lot of air time but I can't quite see how Bush is going to benefit from it.  It may be that the timing of the release of the information got away from Rove.   French fries, anyone?

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 23, 2006 at 07:54 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (5)

September 21, 2006

Wyoming and the 50-State Strategy

Markos had a post up yesterday about the Congressional race in Wyoming (they only have one) and how the state has really only come into play because of Howard Dean's 50-State Strategy.  Dean has been working for the last year and a half to build a national party.  They've been staffing up in every state, using money for that purpose while getting pounded by the DCCC for not spending it on the big national races instead.  Because of his interest in the Mountain West, Kos decided to look in detail at what the DNC had done in Wyoming.  The Executive Director of the Wyoming Democratic Party, Kyle DeBeers reported the following:   

There is no doubt that the DNC staffers are delivering tangible results for candidates across our state.  Since they began implementing our grassroots outreach program last fall, the DNC staffers have recruited and trained 681 volunteers around the state. The staff and these volunteers have given the state party a presence in places where it had been almost non-existent for years.  There is an unprecedented voter ID and voter persuasion project going on and neighbors are talking to neighbors like never before.

Gary Trauner, the Democrat, is running for Congress against Barbara Cubin, a very conservative Republican who entered Congress in the Republican sweep of 1994.  She can't be much in touch with her constituency given that Bush received 69% of the vote in the state in 2004 while she only received 55%.   

Gary walks the state talking to people as this great ad of his indicates.  As he knocks on doors around the state, he works with the activists that the DNC staffers have recruited and trained.  He has matched Cubin's fundraising in each of the last three quarters.  The race is competitive.  Kos says:

When Governor Dean decided to invest in Wyoming, few if any inside-the-beltway pundits would have expected the state's US House race to be competitive. It takes time to build a real grassroots organization, but because Governor Dean committed to compete everywhere, Wyoming Democrats were ready to take advantage of the opportunity that Gary's hard work created.

The 50-State Strategy is making a difference in other races too. Grassroots leaders identified by the DNC staffers are stepping forward to volunteer their time as county coordinators for the Democratic Nominees for State Auditor and State Superintendent of Public Instruction. DNC staffers have helped US Senate Nominee Dale Groutage stage press conferences and deliver his message to state and local media.

Dean's 50-State Strategy has made a difference in Wyoming up and down the ticket and the Party is poised to make gains in November. 

Hat Tip to Howie

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 21, 2006 at 10:40 PM in Candidate Races, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (2)

September 20, 2006

The Comedy Team of Reid and Durbin

One doesn't normally think of either Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid or Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin as comedians.  Yet, this "sketch" on the Senate floor from yesterday, caught on C-Span, was pretty hilarious.  The two carried on a dialogue about the medals that Bush has given some of the most disgraced Administration water-carriers, i.e. Paul Bremer and George Tenet.

I found it difficult to find the video on the Alternet page - it's behind the photo of Lisa Minnelli, go figure - and then found it difficult to load.  But there is also a transcript available on the same page and it's pretty funny all on it's own.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 20, 2006 at 06:03 PM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Congrats to the Voters of WA State

Good sense reigned yesterday as the voters of Washington State turned away from all three BIAW-supported State Supreme Court challengers - Groen, Johnson and Burrage.  This is a huge win.  Washington voters have allowed the "non-partisan" races to float by under the radar in the past.  The supporters of Groen had in the neighborhood of $2 million, 20X the previous high in expenditures for a judicial race in Washington state.  Voters seem to be paying attention to a broader range of issues than anytime in the near past and seem more determined to maintain charge of our democracy.  Yeah!  Yeah to the citizens, Republican and Democratic, for stepping up to defend these seats from being out and out bought by interests from out of state being fronted by the BIAW.

Steve Johnson still has a chance in the general election since there were several candidates for that position and Susan Owens did not receive over 50% of the vote.  And, the enormous amount of money dumped into the race to support John Groen against Gerry Alexander is likely to be moved over to try to salvage Steve Johnson's challenge to Owens but a 13% deficit is going to be hard to overcome. 

One of our challenges will be to maintain vigilance.  John Groen's supporters have already said that they expect to run him again.  And indeed, they have had success in re-running candidates in the past.   

Federal Races

As of 3:08 AM this morning, with almost 100% of the precincts reporting, Cantwell has received 308,658 votes to McGavick's 207,266 votes.  I don't know how that transfers over to the general election but it seems to bode well.  Darcy received 19,529 votes to Reichert's 19,133 which seems hopeful at this point in the campaign.  With increased name visibility, and continued determination, Darcy should be able to pull this out. 

The numbers from east of the mountains are less hopeful.  In the 4th, Richard Wright received only 14,502 votes to Hastings' 33,264.  In the 5th, Peter Goldmark received 32, 937 votes to 43,642 for Cathy McMorris.  These numbers are not insurmountable for Goldmark.  With his charisma and on-going voter interaction, he may still be able to reach those many voters who tend not to vote in the primaries. 

Voter Turnout

This brings me to the big issue of voter turnout.  These numbers will go up as the last of the absentee votes are counted but here is a sampling of the voter turnout numbers so far:

Chelan             28.66
Clark               28.83
Douglas           24.76
Garfield           53.98
Grant              32.57
Jefferson        46.04
King               11.66
Okanogan       22.19
Pend Oreille    40.78
Pierce             23.40
Spokane         27.30

We are not done, folks.  The Democratic ground game for the general election is going to be critical.  I think these numbers tell us that the most critical thing we can do is to give money to the Burner and Goldmark campaigns.  Dan has put up a Northwest Netroots-endorsed candidates page for donations.  Try it out.

UPDATE: The Goldmark campaign is heartened by the primary results for their candidate.  In a press release sent out today, they cite Alonso Rosado, a statistical analyst in the 2004 congressional race in the 5th district, who says, “To see this strong a showing for a Democratic candidate in this district is a clear indication of broad-based support. It’s a sign to me that Goldmark is a strong and competitive candidate.”

The press release also discusses the impact of the closed primary ballot, saying that Spokane county and other counties in the 5th CD had hotly contested sheriff's races, which prompted both Democrats and Independents to cross over and vote Republican in the primary, thus lessening the vote for Goldmark, who, of course, was not on the Republican primary ballot.  Even with that, Goldmark received more votes in Okanogan county than McMorris and nearly as many in Spokane county.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 20, 2006 at 08:58 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (4)

September 19, 2006

Ted Turner Suggests We Bar Men From Public Office for 100 Years

Now here's a practical idea.  Ted Turner, speaking before a group of journalists and international policy leaders at Reuter's offices in NYC, responded to a question about the possibility of a female U.N. Secretary General by advocating that men be barred from public office for a hundred years in every part of the world.    Here's why it's practical:

If we had women holding all the public offices, the amount of money on the military would be immediately cut way back and more would be spent on healthcare and education. There wouldn't be lack of family planning or birth control if the women ran things.

Turner's speech was primarily about his foundation's work with the U.N.  Nine years ago Turner gave $1 billion to strengthen the U.N. and provide money for U.N. causes around the world.  He also expressed his hope that Al Gore will run for President in 2008 and talked about the decision to invade Iraq.  He said that the U.S. had done "incalculable" damage over the past three years,    About the decision to invade Iraq, he said:

"It will go down in history -- it already is going down in history -- as one of the dumbest moves that was ever made by anybody," Turner said, citing the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of Russia during the Second World War as other "dumb" moves.

"We lost so much," he said of the U.S. invasion. "It literally broke my heart, it was so dumb. ... If you started wars with everyone you don't like, well good God, we would all be at war with everybody."

The article was written by David Hirschman and published in the online edition of Editor and Publisher.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 19, 2006 at 08:09 PM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (6)

Another Possible Best Ad Ever

Democrat Bob Casey, running for the Senate in Pennsylvania against Rick Santorum, has an ad running that rivals my other most favorite ad for James Webb in Virginia.  I like the story of how this ad came to be.  A couple months ago, a woman named Arkecia Morris knocked on the door of Casey's campaign headquarters in Philadelphia and said she'd been a 5th grade student of Casey's when he was a teacher.  She told her story about Casey as a teacher and his particular support of her way back then.  The campaign made a lovely ad about it. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 19, 2006 at 07:46 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maria and The Grey Lady

Decent feature article in the New York Times today about Maria v. Mike(!). 

The Times' conclusion: unlike those whacky Dems in Connecticuct, we're "pragmatic" for supporting Maria.  Damn straight.

My favorite bit of false McGavick bravado:

Beyond specific policy differences, Mr. McGavick said his campaign
was centered on “the need for civility and the need for common sense
and problem solving.”

“That’s what has gotten me this far,” he said, “and that’s what will carry me on to victory.”

Um, does anybody really think that electing another Republican to the Senate is going to help "solve problems" like Iraq, Katrina recovery, global warming, ballooning debt and rampant corruption?

That's why Mike(!) is umpteen points behind in the polls.





Posted by Jon Stahl on September 19, 2006 at 06:50 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1)

September 18, 2006

Immigration Raid Makes a Ghost Town

The AP's Russ Bynum had an article a few days ago that made my skin crawl.  He interviewed the people left in Stillmore, Georgia, a small town 190 miles north of Atlanta, after Georgia state lawmakers passed tough measures targeting illegal immigrants and the state's governor vowed a statewide crackdown on document fraud. 

Evidently Stillmore was first.  The Immigration and Customs Enforcement folks arrested 120 illegal immigrants and took them to court in Atlanta.  Business has dried up in the town of 1000 and the primary business, the Crider poultry plant, is scrambling to replace more than half the workforce of 900.  A 2-year old boy has been sent to neighbors to live when his mother fled the town and his father was deported. 

The sweep has had the unintended effect of underscoring just how vital the illegal immigrants were to the local economy.

The Mexican workers originally came to pick Vidalia onions and then took year-round jobs at the poultry plant. 

The immigration sweep has made the town a ghost town.  Illegal immigrants were handcuffed and taken away and few have returned.  The mayor, Marilyn Slater, said, "This reminds me of what I read about Nazi Germany, the Gestapo coming in and yanking people up."  Her son and grandson's convenience store has lost about 80% of its business. 

"These people come over here to make a better way of life, not to blow us up," complained Keith Slater, who keeps a portrait of Ronald Reagan on the wall. "I'm a die-hard Republican, but I think we missed the boat with this one."

Hm.  Turns out we are all connected to each other.  What happens to some of us impacts the others.  Seems like some people just have to keep learning some of the basic lessons of life the hard way. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 18, 2006 at 11:09 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (5)

Olbermann on Bush - It is Unacceptable to Think?

Keith Olbermann on MSNBC comments on Bush's reaction on Friday to Colin Powell's letter of last week.  He suggests that the President owes the nation an apology.   Olbermann repeats both the question to the President at the Rose Garden press conference and Bush's response:

Mr. President, former Secretary of State Colin Powell says the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. If a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state feels this way, don’t you think that Americans and the rest of the world are beginning to wonder whether you’re following a flawed strategy? BUSH: If there’s any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it’s flawed logic. It’s just — I simply can’t accept that. It’s unacceptable to think that there’s any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.

And then, without missing a beat, Olbermann says:

Of course it’s acceptable to think that there’s "any kind of comparison."

And in this particular debate, it is not only acceptable, it is obviously necessary.

Some will think that our actions at Abu Ghraib, or in Guantanamo, or in secret prisons in Eastern Europe, are all too comparable to the actions of the extremists.

Some will think that there is no similarity, or, if there is one, it is to the slightest and most unavoidable of degrees.

What all of us will agree on, is that we have the right — we have the duty — to think about the comparison.

And, most importantly, that the other guy, whose opinion about this we cannot fathom, has exactly the same right as we do: to think — and say — what his mind and his heart and his conscience tell him, is right.

All of us agree about that.

Except, it seems, this President.

With increasing rage, he and his administration have begun to tell us, we are not permitted to disagree with them, that we cannot be right. That Colin Powell cannot be right.

Thank you, Mr. Olbermann, for continuing to point out out what is so clearly true. 

Hat Tip to Jane at Firedoglake

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 18, 2006 at 10:27 PM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

NO on 933 Hits the Air - Hard!

My friends over at the NO on 933 campaign hit their airwaves with their first television ad of the campaign, and I have to say, it is absolutely fantastic.

933ad2

In the ad, La Conner vegetable farmer Dave Hedlin gives a heartfelt testimony about why so many farmers are opposed to Initiative 933. Farming is a way of life, and I-933 threatens that way of life by making it impossible to protect prime farmland from development. 

The ad closes with a powerful image that has a great story behind it --- the message "NO 933" carved into the wheat field of fifth generation Palouse wheat grower Aaron Flansburg.

933ad1

"Even in Palouse I'm concerned about irresponsible developments popping up on prime farmland. I want land to stay in production so I can keep farming like the generations before me," said Flansburg.

You can read more about the process of creating the largest billboard of the 2006 election season on the NO on 933 website. 

Posted by Jon Stahl on September 18, 2006 at 08:41 PM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (5)

The Year of the Women, Part 2

Kudos to Cantwell for asking her donor base to contribute money to Darcy Burner last week to help counter the money Karl Rove was raising for Dave Reichert in Medina.    Maria sent a letter out to her email list asking for money for Burner and she made it permanent.  Darcy is now up on Maria's ActBlue page.  Here's what Maria says about it on that page:

But today we’re doing things a little differently and adding Darcy Burner to this page. Darcy is Democratic challenger in Washington’s 8th district who is on her way to defeating the incumbent Republican, and we need her to win to take back the House. Today Karl Rove is here fundraising for Darcy’s opponent. So today we need to help her fight back. Thank you for your support.

And the results?  Dan at On the Road to 2008 said on Saturday:

Before the plea, Darcy's ActBlue numbers were a respectable $40,062.10 from 1675 donations.  In the 21 hours since the Friday afternoon plea went out there have been 1001 donations raising $45,693.51, with $43,754.58 coming through Cantwell's ActBlue page, for a new total of $85,755.61 from 2676 donations!

Then kudos again for using her time with Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray to support Burner in her district on Saturday as well as several state legislators.  Way to go Democrats!  Dan has another nice post on that which I am personally grateful for since I was away this weekend and unable to attend.

My first taste of contributing to campaigns came in 1992, in what was called "The Year of the Woman".  And indeed, with the help of the incredible women's organization, Emily's List, there were four new pro-choice Democratic women elected to the Senate, including Feinstein, Boxer and Patty Murray, and twenty to the House. 

I was living in San Francisco and it was heady for me to pay $100 for a ticket to a rally and to go with two friends to the gorgeous new Opera House and see Ellen Malcolm, head of Emily's List talk about what was happening across the country with women running for office.  Our job then was to get Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer elected to the Senate from California.  By a quirk, we had one full-term to fill and one temporary two-year term to fill.  So we got two women in the same year.  And, btw, my fondness for Feinstein lingers because of her incredible generosity in taking on the two-year seat race rather than the more conventional six-year seat race.  Feinstein was far more well known and could have had either seat.  But she had more money and the greater name recognition and figured she's have a better chance of holding onto her seat than Boxer come two years later.  And boy, was she right.  In 1994, with the Republican sweep of Congress, Feinstein barely held on and Boxer would never have made it. 

For me, one of the great joys of that year and of supporting Emily's List heartily ever since then, has been that sense of political sisterhood.  I always like seeing the other women senators come to support their pals who are running.  Same with the House women.  I was a big supporter of Democrat Ellen Tauscher in CA-10 for many years as she ran and secured a place for herself in a very moderate district that had been initially carved out for Republicans.  At one fundraiser in 1998, she brought along three close friends in the House, who were, like her on their way to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.  They talked about how they supported each other, both personally and legislatively and I was just so glad for Ellen, that she had been able to create that for herself.  And I hope and trust Darcy will be able to do the same.

As I look around the nation this year, I think we have an opportunity to have another, far quieter but equally important "Year of the Woman" and I, for one, am delighted.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 18, 2006 at 09:39 AM in Candidate Races, Inside Baseball | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 14, 2006

Possibly the Best Political Ad Ever

VoteVets has an ad up against Senator George Allen of Virginia that is hard-hitting and totally straight-forward. 

I have a bet out with a friend that James Webb is going to beat George Allen on November 7th.  When I saw this ad, I decided I was likely to win that dinner. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 14, 2006 at 09:34 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (4)

Ann Richards, A Great Democrat, Passes

Ann Richards, governor of Texas from 1990 to 1994, died last night at home surrounded by her four children.  She was one of those progressive Texans, like Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower, who are Democrats to the core and know how to tell a story in plain language that makes you laugh until you cry. 

The New York Times has a nice piece up on her today.

The Texas blogs also have been blogging away about someone they have a great deal of closeness to.  One of the bloggers, Capitol Annex, has put together a blogger compilation of what they are saying about her.

The only piece I want to add is that Ann has a daughter, Cecile Richards, who is following in her mother's footsteps.  Currently Executive Director of the national Planned Parenthood, Cecile has already had many roles in progressive organizations and will, I hope, follow her incredible mother into national politics.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 14, 2006 at 09:21 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (2)

Larry Grant Introductory Ad

Our friends in Idaho are running a great Democratic campaign in pretty deeply red territory.  But they have an excellent candidate and are lucky in the Republican opposition they drew for this open seat.  Bill Sali is one of those all-time Republican loonies that Idaho tends to throw up every once and awhile. 
One hesitates to ask for money for a campaign outside of our Burner and Goldmark and Wright and Cantwell campaigns.  However, the Idaho Democrats have played this end pretty well.  They simply ask that anyone who has ties to Idaho support this race.  So, with that in mind, here's the link to contribute. 

Check Larry's ad out.  He's a great candidate. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 14, 2006 at 09:09 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1)

September 13, 2006

Dirty Tricks Master, Karl Rove, to Stump for Reichert

Why would “the Sheriff” bring someone to raise money for him who has repeatedly skirted the law?  Desperation?  We have to assume it is nothing else.  The latest poll shows his opponent, Darcy Burner, ahead by a couple of points, and that is without the 90% plus name recognition that Reichert commands.  So, Karl Rove, the man who groomed George Bush for President and ran a series of truly dirty political campaigns to get him elected and re-elected, is coming to Medina this Friday to raise money for Dave Reichert. This is the man whom “the Sheriff” has asked to come help him stave off the increasingly successful campaign of Darcy Burner.

Let’s make certain it doesn’t work.

From his earliest days in the College Republicans, Karl Rove has been focused on using organization, message and dirty tricks. Most recently of course his name has been linked with leaking an undercover CIA agent’s name to the media and using that to go after her husband, Joe Wilson, for speaking and writing about the administration’s lack of evidence for starting a pre-emptive war with Iraq. Rove has not been charged with any crime yet in the Plame case and it is possible that he may never be. 

That in fact has always been Rove’s modus operandi.  James Moore and Wayne Slater, writing in the book, “Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential”, say that this type of incident was a hallmark of Rove’s campaigns in Texas.  He was repeatedly involved in “unexpected, campaign-shaping events” but not in a way that could be directly linked to him.  “It became his motif.  There is no crime, just a victim.  Evidence is gone before acquiring substance.” (p. 52)

Let’s look at just who Karl Rove is, the latest Bush Administration emissary to come stump for Reichert.

The Early Days

Rove worked on his first Republican campaign while still in High School in Salt Lake City.  He went on to the University of Utah and began working with the infamous College Republicans.  Beginning in 1973, he worked extensively with Lee Atwater who considered politics to be war. Atwater understood the shifting demographics of the South and the wedge issues, such as gun control and the flag, that could unite conservative Republicans and Reagan Democrats.  He knew how to leverage these issues to divide his Democratic opponents and attract new Republican voters. Part of Rove’s job with the College Republicans was to teach dirty tricks.

In 1973, Rove came to the attention of George H.W. Bush who was the Chairman of the Republican National Committee and became national chairman of the Young Republicans.

Rove worked for Ford’s reelection campaign in 1976, becoming a successful direct-mail fund-raiser.  When Carter won, Rove went to work in Texas.

Honing His Skills in Texas

Karl Rove was instrumental in changing the face of Texas politics between the mid 80's, when every statewide office was held by Democrats, and 2000, when every statewide office was held by Republicans.

Journalists and observers of the Texas political scene describe Rove as strategic, determined and in command of more critical demographic facts and political history and knowledge than any person they've ever met. They also see him as consistently capable of using any tactic or tool that is required, many ethically questionable, to win.

Rove wrote a memo in 1982 describing how Republicans could gain ascendancy in the state.  Reagan was making the Republican Party an attractive alternative to Southern whites and upwardly mobile Northerners moving to the suburbs of the South.  Rove saw this demographic shift and understood the political implications.

The dirty tricks were consistent and campaign changing.  First there was an odd bugging incident right before the 1986 gubernatorial election.  It occurred in Rove’s own office.  Rove called in the FBI and reporters and claimed it was done by the Democrats.  The Republicans pushed the story for five days, long enough to send the Democratic incumbent’s campaign into reverse and cause a win for Rove’s Republican client.  Then the story disappeared.

Something similar happened with Jim Hightower’s reelection campaign in 1990.  Hightower was running for reelection to the office of Agricultural Commissioner, an important office in Texas.  The same FBI, a man known to have lunch with Rove, investigated a standard audit right before the election.  Reporters were given tips before the findings were made public.  Hightower lost to Republican Rick Perry, a client of Karl Rove’s.  Then the investigation stopped and no charges were ever filed.

By the early 1990’s Texas Republicans were clearing all their potential statewide candidates through Rove, including judges.  Large companies, like Philip Morris, were paying him for political advice.  He was working all the angles – cultivating business and using their contributions to ensure the election of candidates favorable to business.

Starting to sound familiar isn’t it?

Next came a win for Kay Bailey Hutchison for a special election campaign in June of 1993 for the U.S. Senate against a candidate hand-picked by Governor Ann Richards, giving Texas two Republican U.S. Senators for the first time.

Rove Makes Bush Governor

Even before the 1990 gubernatorial election in Texas, Karl Rove was thinking about running George W. Bush as governor, then president.  But Bush wasn’t ready in 1990.  Instead he found a job that suited him well and positioned him as a successful businessperson in his own right: general managing partner of the Texas Rangers.

Rove began assembling the campaign team for Bush’s gubernatorial run in 1993 and had Bush tutored in state government issues.  Rove knew that state business interests would support Bush financially and he was right.  He ran two campaigns against Richards.  Again, according to Moore and Slater, “one in which Bush floated above the fray and another in which Rove targeted the Democrat’s politics and gender.  It was an arrangement that allowed Bush plausible deniability, no matter what.  And it was a model of future Bush races: Bush traveling the high road, Rove pursuing the low.”

Bush challenged her record on improving public schools and fighting crime.  Rove worked through surrogates to undermine Richards on the issues of gays and guns.  He even started a whisper campaign against her in conservative, previously Democratic, parts of the state, intimating that she was a lesbian.

Bush won and it was on to planning a White House run.  During the six years of Bush’s governorship, under Rove’s guidance, Bush moved toward increasingly expedient political positions on key issues, shifting his attention from funding schools to tax cuts, for instance.  Abortion restrictions and school vouchers were on.  The hate crimes bill was off.   

The Run for the White House

Rove successfully engineered a Bush win in Iowa but missed in New Hampshire, allowing John McCain an opening. 

As the campaign moved into conservative South Carolina, the next primary state, Bush’s campaign worked to switch the voter’s perception of Bush as a politician and McCain as a reformer.  The Bush campaign started using the slogan ‘Bush – Reformer with Results’ and also ran ads calling McCain a hypocrite for taking money form PAC’s while running on a platform of campaign finance reform.  In a series of radio attacks and direct-mailings, McCain was falsely accused of backing away from his pro-life stance, abandoning Vietnam veterans, fathering illegitimate children and having a wife who had drug problems.  Some of the accusations came from independent organizations, some from the Bush camp.  Rove had long ago learned that radio and direct mail were immune from press coverage. 

The campaign infuriated McCain who had believed Bush’s public proclamations of a fair fight.  He was goaded into comparing Bush with Clinton in a television ad.  In what some called ‘the Sonny Corleone move’, referring to the set-up that got Sonny to move from his safe location and therefore be killed, Rove was ready.  The Bush camp responded immediately by accusing McCain of negative campaigning and having difficulty controlling his anger.  Bush took South Carolina by 11 percent and went on to win the Republican nomination. 

In the general election of 2000, the Bush campaign focused on character rather than on policy.  They questioned Gore’s integrity, painting him as someone “who would say anything to get elected”.  Bush was able to win by exceeding expectations the three debates with Gore, portraying Gore as lacking integrity and the common touch, and by staving off a last minute story about a drunk driving charge than Bush had incurred in 1976, at age 30, and subsequent attempts to conceal it.

And we know what happened there.

In the White House

Rove continued to focus on winning the next election.  That is Rove’s standard.  Politics, not policy or morality.  In 2002, Rove was able to dismantle the Democrats so effectively, they are only now recovering.  He silenced the opposition with intimidation and picked off constituencies.  The focus on the upcoming war with Iraq deprived the Democrats of all the domestic issues they would have led on. 

Pretty much the same thing happened in 2004. 

Only now, with the rise of the progressive blogs and the ability of the blogosphere to research and articulate the truth about what is going on and to support the Democrats who dare to speak the truth, are we overcoming the strategy and tactics that have made Karl Rove so dangerous.

This is the man whom “the Sheriff” has asked to come help him stave off the increasingly successful campaign of Darcy Burner.  Contribute to Darcy's campaign to prevent Rove from maintaining his control of the Republican House.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 13, 2006 at 11:10 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 12, 2006

Wes Clark on Fifth Anniversary of 9/11

Did you ever imagine where we might be five years down the line?  That Osama bin Laden would still be on the loose?  That we would have 2.5 times as many terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda now than there were in Sept., 2001?  Wes Clark put out a great audio-clip yesterday laying out where we are now and where we could be if we had a sane foreign policy. 

Clark makes so much sense.  He challenges us to set aside the dictates of fear and hubris that the Bush Administration tries to impose upon us.  He says that we have nothing to fear in this country.  We should live in determination and work with other nations to resolve our common problems.  We have to be courageous and face the facts as they are now. 

Not only is Clark raising money tirelessly for the best of our Democratic candidates for this election cycle, he is also providing the national Democratic leaders with the clear foreign policy that they need to provide to the American people.  Here it is directly from him.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 12, 2006 at 10:36 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Groen Breaks All Spending Records

$1,294,608.  That's what the BIAW and the PACs they control have spent to try to unseat WA Supreme Court Justice Gerry Alexander - who is a Republican!  Sheesh.  That alone tells you how radical John Groen is.  Sunday night, Goldy had a conversation with Jenny Durkin on KIRO about these three Supreme Court races.  She said that the previous record for money spent on a Supreme Court race was about $100,000.  These folks are playing for keeps here.  Steve Zemke at Majority Rules blog has researched the contributions for this race from all sources, using the PDC records and analysis from VotingforJudges.org, a new and wonderful website put up by Washington state judges.  It's good work.

The other thing I was struck by in Sunday's discussion with Jenny was that Groen was recruited to come to Washington to practice property rights law and to run for office up here.  Now he is backed up by $1.3 million.  This is a long-term campaign that will impact our quality of life  in major ways if we can't fight back properly. 

Plus, given our odd system of electing judges in the primary - if there are only two folks running, then one of them is going to get 50%, all that is required - it's the hard core folks who are electing our Supreme Court judges.  This is a perfect set-up to pull one over on the voters in an otherwise reliably blue state.  We have to make some changes here and fast.

Check out Steve's site for the details.

UPDATE:  Goldy has this YouTube video-clip up on this race.


Posted by Lynn Allen on September 12, 2006 at 10:22 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (3)

September 11, 2006

All Olbermann, All the Time

Keith Olbermann has outdone himself.  He did one of his special comments in front of the hole that is Ground Zero and took President Bush to task for spinning 9/11.  Then he compared what Bush and company have done to an old Twilight Zone episode.  Absolutely on point and courageous. 

I don't get cable at my house so I don't get to watch Olbermann except when I find these extraordinary video-clips.  But I imagine that they are worth seeing a second time even if you catch them the first time around.  Michael has the transcript over at Blatherwatch as well.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 11, 2006 at 11:12 PM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Jim Hightower Coming to Town

This Thursday evening, writer, radio commenter and activist Jim Hightower will be speaking at Seattle’s Town Hall at 7:00 about how we build political power for sustainability in Washington State.  The talk is called, “On Common Ground: Innovations in Energy and Agriculture and a New Civic Awakening”.   Tickets are only $10 to hear one of the country’s most entertaining and informative speakers.

Jim Hightower is a populist through and through.  For him, progressive issues come back to building political power.  So, if anyone can take a topic that most of us don’t fully understand and make it entertaining and clear and obviously critical to our future, it is Jim Hightower. 

The event is hosted by the Back to the Roots program of Institute for Washington's Future in collaboration with Washblog and us, Evergreen Politics, and features a short performance by Seattle Peace Chorus.  There are about a dozen wonderful sponsors, including Climate Solutions, The Washington Farmers’ Union, and Progressive Government.  And he will sign some of his books afterwards.

First some background on Hightower for those of you who don’t know much about this national treasure.  As I review his history, I realize that he has been a canary in the coalmine.  As a result of his fearlessness about speaking out, he has been targeted early by the same forces that the rest of the country gets a decade or so later. 

Hightower Runs Into the Rove/Bush Meatgrinder

In the book, “Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential”, James Moore and Wayne Slater tell the story of how Democrat Jim Hightower became one of Karl Rove’s first targets in his plan to change the face of Texas politics. In 1982 every statewide office in Texas was held by Democrats.  By 2000 every statewide office was held by Republicans.  Rove had no scruples in how he accomplished that.

The Bushes didn’t have much use for Jim Hightower.  He had been getting national attention as a populist orator.  At the Democratic National Convention in 1988, Hightower gave the keynote talk where he quipped, “George Bush is the kind of guy who wakes up on third base and thinks he hit a triple.”

Hightower was running for reelection for Agriculture Commissioner in 1990, an important office in Texas. As Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower was noted for fostering organic production, alternative crops, direct marketing by small farmers, strong pesticide regulations, and other innovative programs. During that time, he also became a leading national spokesman for populist and progressive Democrats. On the policy front, Hightower was a vocal critic of federal farm policies under the Reagan/Bush administration and had been advocating stricter pesticide regulations and hormone-free beef. 

Rick Perry, a West Texas rancher, switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican to run against Hightower and became a client of Rove’s.  Karl Rove had earlier befriended an FBI agent who had already investigated other Texas Democratic officeholders who were in Rove’s way.  This time, someone gave detailed information from an audit of Hightower’s Department of Agriculture to the FBI and then someone began feeding that information to the press.  Rove gave tips to reporters about what questions to ask and told them about subpoenas from the FBI that were about to be served. The timing, coming right before the election, was Perry’s only chance of beating the popular Hightower.  No charges were ever filed and the story disappeared from state newspapers just before the election but the questions caused Hightower to lose to Republican Rick Perry.

“Nixonian dirty tricks,” Hightower charged.  “They’ve caught us with our pants up.”

Hightower Becomes an Early Casualty of Disney/ABC

A diarist over at DailyKos, wmtriallawyer, recently told a story of working for Hightower in 1995, helping him edit and produce a three minute recorded radio commentary which was carried weekends on ABC Radio Networks. That was the summer that Disney bought ABC for $19 billion, creating the largest media company in the world.

Hightower spoke frequently against media conglomorates and the consolidation of media power.  He decided that he had to deal with the issue of becoming part of the Disney family on the show.

Hightower started right off, “Looks like I'm working for a mouse now”.  He went on to criticize ABC and Disney for the media power grab and to criticize the media industry for their misuse of the public airwaves.  Standard Hightower and one of the traits that made him the number three radio show in the country and got him carried on 150 radio stations across the country. 

A few weeks later ABC canceled the show. 

The diarist goes on to say, “I consider him a friend, and a personal hero of mine, because Hightower GETS it.  He GETS messaging.  And he GETS politics.”

There’s so much more to say about Jim Hightower but best that you come see him yourself.  Click here for tickets or just show up at the door.  7:00 at Town Hall, 8th & Seneca, Seattle.  This Thursday, Sept. 14th. 

Noemie, our incredible chief organizer for this event, has written more on Hightower at Democratic Underground.


Posted by Lynn Allen on September 11, 2006 at 10:30 AM in National and International Politics, Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

Collection of 9/11 Video-Clips

Truthdig has a collection of videos of what happened on 9/11 and shortly afterwards.  I found a couple particularly touching - one was the first show that David Letterman did after 9/11, the other the first show that Jon Stewart did afterwards.  They both bring back that very vulnerable, very open time that I miss.  I don't miss why it happened, of course, only the soft humanity that we all saw and felt so deeply.  It makes me wish that we had all done an 8 minute video-clip of ourselves right then to remind us of how we can be.  Here's the link.

There is also an amazing trailer for the soon-to-be-released movie - “9/11: Press for the Truth” –- about the efforts of the “Jersey Girls,” the women who lost husbands in the World Trade Center attacks, and who almost single-handedly goaded Republican lawmakers into holding hearings into the attacks.  This is very hopeful after these last few days of realizing what Disney/ABC was able to pull over on us.  It is going to be something to see. 

Hat tip to Howie

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 11, 2006 at 09:00 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 10, 2006

The Latest, Greatest Cantwell Numbers

Darryl has a nice post on the latest Cantwell-McGavick numbers.  Cantwell is up by 17 percentage points.  For the second poll in a row.  As Darryl says, it should be enough of a margin to withstand the nasty ads that will be coming his way from the "civil", self-financed McGavick.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 10, 2006 at 10:27 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

Disney/ABC Video-clip - the Propagandists

This video-clip byJesus' General pretty much clarifies the Disney/ABC situation.  Take a look.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 10, 2006 at 06:32 PM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Judicial Endorsements

In case you missed it, the right wing, led by the Building Industry Association of Washington, is attempting to pack Washington's Supreme Court.  In a "nonpartisan" judicial race, it can be hard to spot the ringers.

Fortunately, our friends at Washington Conservation Voters are on the case with clear, straightforward endorsements of the non-nutcases:


  • Susan Owens Position 2

  • Gerry Alexander Position 8

  • Tom Chambers Position 9

  • Posted by Jon Stahl on September 10, 2006 at 03:04 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Judicial Endorsements

    In case you missed it, the right wing, led by the Building Industry Association of Washington, is attempting to pack Washington's Supreme Court.  In a "nonpartisan" judicial race, it can be hard to spot the ringers.

    Fortunately, our friends at Washington Conservation Voters are on the case with clear, straightforward endorsements of the non-nutcases:


  • Susan Owens Position 2

  • Gerry Alexander Position 8

  • Tom Chambers Position 9

  • Posted by Jon Stahl on September 10, 2006 at 03:04 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (2)

    Osama bin Missing

    Message.  You want Democratic message?  The DNC has a great pre-emptive ad that, if played on TV regularly across the country, could inoculate the public against the huge Republican focus on the war on terror we will see this next two months.  Take a look.

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 10, 2006 at 09:54 AM in Media, National and International Politics, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Another Piece of the Disney/ABC Puzzle

    Zenia Mucha, the EVP of Corporate Communications for Disney, is a Republican political shill.  According to Matt Stoller at MyDD, Mucha has been instrumental in George Pataki's political rise as governor of New York .  Pataki called her 'the Director of Revenge' when she was his enormously powerful advisor.  Prior to that she was Communications Director for Senator Al D'Amato, universally considered one of the nastiest Republicans around. 

    She came to work for Eisner at Disney in 2001 in what most people thought was a lucrative break in a longer-term political career.  She is likely to wind up as campaign manager for Pataki as he seeks the Republican nomination for President in 2008. 

    We are learning so much from this miserable episode about the details of how the Republicans and corporations work together to make money and keep power.   

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 10, 2006 at 09:39 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Civility

    This is the kind of "civility" you get from Republicans, and yes, Mike!, that includes you.

    From today's Washington Post front page:

    Republicans are planning to spend the vast majority of their sizable financial war chest over the final 60 days of the campaign attacking Democratic House and Senate candidates over personal issues and local controversies, GOP officials said.

    The National Republican Congressional Committee, which this year dispatched a half-dozen operatives to comb through tax, court and other records looking for damaging information on Democratic candidates, plans to spend more than 90 percent of its $50 million-plus advertising budget on what officials described as negative ads.

    The hope is that a vigorous effort to "define" opponents, in the parlance of GOP operatives, can help Republicans shift the midterm debate away from Iraq and limit losses this fall.



    Posted by Jon Stahl on September 10, 2006 at 09:09 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

    September 09, 2006

    Money, Willful Blindness and Teachable Moments

    What is it about the prospect of making gobs of money that turns those oligarchs running this country into the blindest of the blind - people who are unwilling to see falsehood when it is standing right in front of them?  Money, you think?  Matt Stoller over at MyDD did some research and came up with some interesting information about Disney and what it likely gets and wants from our political gatekeepers, those folks in our Congress who make the laws that directly impact Disney and all our large corporations.  Forget us, the people, since that clearly hasn't been of much concern to our Republican Congress for at least a dozen years. 

    Stoller talks about Disney's objections and the danger that Disney can foresee if Democrats take over, especially now that Disney has really annoyed them: 

    Disney is leading the effort to give Hollywood control over how your TV and TiVo are built and what you can do with programs you watch.  This is in the Stevens bill before the Senate.  Democrats didn't really have any reason to deny Disney its political candy, since Disney was thought to be responsible with its content, or at least not overtly insane.  Their credibility on this front is going quickly, and donations to Chuck Schumer aren't the palliative they once were.

    Another is copyright extensions, which Disney has used to keep its perpetual license on characters like Mickey Mouse, who should by now have fallen into the public domain.  Democrats didn't really have any reason to think that this was anything but a dispute over intellectual property, with corporations like Disney having motives that are only as pure as Snow White, versus pirates bent on stealing songs and movies by hardworking artists.  Now that Disney's credibility is going, lobbyists for Disney are going to find it tougher on Capitol Hill, and lobbyists for the Creative Commons movement are going to find a much easier reception.  Iger knows there's a movement bent on routing around his unreasonable and political control of free speech through copyright extremism.  He's got a choice on whether he gives that movement a whole lot of real political power.

    And another thing Disney wants is media consolidation.  Disney wants to buy everything, since media is seen as a scale business.  It's pretty obvious to Democrats if this movie airs that Disney is not a responsible public steward of the airwaves it controls right now.  Why should they be allowed to engulf even more assets?  Like Creative Commons, the free media movement is growing rapidly, and it is a real movement that could receive a dollop of political power thanks to Disney's exceptionally and impressively poor judgment.

    The people of this country have long needed a clear picture of the quid pro quo between the corporations and this Republican Administration and Congress.  This administration has been good to Disney.  Disney paid taxes in 2001 at a rate of about 27%, it paid at a 7.5% rate in 2002, nothing in 2003, when they made over a billion and a half dollars, and then at a -3.4% rate in 2003.  Reason enough to do what they could to make sure that the Republicans maintain their hold on Congress. 

    Heh folks, we knew it was going to get rough.  This mini-series clearly starts the clock on the nasty, desperate Republican lies we are going to be getting for 8 weeks.   The good news is that we are a lot stronger than we were 2 years ago in November, right after the last election, when they conceived this ugly baby.  We have excellent  communications channels and we have confidence from a few real wins - Lamont's win; the likely failure of the Bolton nomination; the stand-off on net neutrality, which also impacts TV; and more, including the ability to get Scholastic to rethink their cooperation with ABC on this movie.    

    Disney/ABC's refusal to pull this mini-series and the terrible consequences of getting this false image of who is to blame for 9/11 out across the world may backfire big on them.   This may be one of the real "teachable moments" for progressives to illustrate the really big issues in this country today. 

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 9, 2006 at 06:59 PM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Watch It and Weep

    Charles Gibson talks with President Bush in an interview on ABC (Yikes, does it make sense to even refer to anything anymore on or about ABC?  Well for the moment, let me continue) about the war on terror.  Eeeeeech!  I feel like I could have had a more intelligent conversation with my 3-yr. old niece than Gibson had with Bush.  Scroll down to "Gibson Talks Terror with President Bush")

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 9, 2006 at 05:43 PM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

    The Story Behind ABC's "Path to 9/11"

    This travesty of a "documentary" is clearly a propaganda piece designed to plant the impression that the fault for the 9/11 attacks and all that has come after them lies with the Clinton Administration.  It turns out that this secret $40 million project was a partnership between a  Christian evangelical group called "Youth With a Mission" or YWAM and a hitherto secret right-wing Hollywood group led by David Horowitz and probably funded by Richard Mellon Scaife. 

    Max Blumenthal, writing at Huffington Post, lays out the story.  Right-wing activist David Horowitz has been working since the beginning of Clinton's presidency to create a network of politically active conservatives in Hollywood.  They call themselves the "Wednesday Morning Club" and meet weekly to burrow into the film industry to counter what they see as the traditionally liberal Hollywood bias.  Their meeting place, Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture, has been bankrolled by the same cabal of right-wing funders, like Richard Mellon Scaife, who funded the Arkansas Project which spent $2.3 million to take Clinton down.

    They hooked up with a young director, David Cunningham, who had started an organization called The Film Institute as an offshoot of YWAM, which his father and mother had started years earlier.  Blumenthal found the mission statement for The Film Institute (now deleted but cached): "dedicated to a Godly transformation and revolution TO and THROUGH the Film and Television industry."   The Film Institute had a similar strategy as Horowitz's Wednesday Morning Club - to help place interns from YWAM in film industry jobs "so that they can begin to impact and transform Hollywood from the inside out," according to a YWAM report.

    The specifics of how ABC/Disney asked Cunningham to take on the project are not yet fully known.  What we do know is that this was Cunningham's first big project.  It was developed under a shroud of secrecy and called by ABC, "Untitled Commission Report" and by the producers, "Untitled History Project" according to a New York Post article written in late July. 

    Cunningham brought on an outspoken conservative as screenwriter and producer, Iranian-American Cyrus Nowrasteh.  Nowrasteh was a speaker at the Liberty Film Festival (LFF), an annual event founded in 2004 to promote right-wing, conservative-themed films.  The LFF is a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. 

    The impact of this show may be lessened by all the controversy surrounding it now.  But we have not been able to prevent it being shown yet. 

    We may have been able to prevent Scholastic from compounding the travesty of "The Path to 9/11" although I'm not sure we'll know that until next week. You see ABC teamed up with education publisher Scholastic to provide a teaching guide for the movie to be used by teachers in high school classrooms all over America next week.  These discussion guides are filled with conservative misinformation on the lead up to 9/11 and to the connections between 9/11 and the war in Iraq.  Scholastic announced it was removing the materials from the website after a concerted campaign by the blogs to get them to reconsider.  Media Matters reports that Scholastic said, "[T]he materials did not meet our high standards."  In a press release, Scholastic further stated: "A new classroom discussion guide for high school students is being created and will focus more specifically on media literacy, critical thinking, and historical background."

    This is how the right-wing infrastructure, built up over four decades and funded by about five inter-locking foundations, works and why it is so insidious.  This is why we on the left need something similar.  We are far more creative.  A lot less money would go a lot farther.  We have to begin doing this on a systematic basis.

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 9, 2006 at 10:50 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

    Identity, not issues

    Good editorial from Paul Waldman in the Boston Globe, reminding Democratic candidates to focus on their identity, not their issue positions.

    If there's one thing Republicans have understood and Democrats haven't,
    it is that politics is not about issues. Politics is about identity.
    The candidates and parties that win are not those aligning their
    positions most precisely with a majority of the electorate. The winners
    are those who form a positive image in the public mind of who they are
    (and a negative image of who their opponents are). Issues are a vehicle
    to create that identity, one that combines with symbolism and narrative
    to shape what the public thinks about when they think about Democrats
    and Republicans.

    Posted by Jon Stahl on September 9, 2006 at 08:48 AM in Policy, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

    September 08, 2006

    War Turns Southern Women Away from GOP

    The AP is reporting on an AP/Ipsos poll that indicates that 3 out of 5 Southern women are planning on voting for a Democrat in the mid-term elections because they are angry over the war in Iraq and the country's direction.  Welcome!   

    This is wonderful news in many ways.  Southern women have long been the hold-out on the gender gap, supporting President Bush and the Republicans before him.  Bush's second term came partially as a result of the 54% support he received from Southern female voters as against the national average of 48% from all white women.  White Southern women liked Bush because "he spoke their religion and he spoke their values," according to this AP article by Shannon McCaffrey.  Here's an example of their sentiment about Bush now:

    "I think history will show him to be the worst president since Ulysses S. Grant," said Barbara Knight, a self-described Republican since birth and the mother of three. "He's been an embarrassment."

    And here's how it translates into trouble for the Republicans as women describe how they will vote in a Georgia State Congressional race currently held by a Democrat but redrawn by the Georgia Legislature to be more conservative. 

    Voters like Knight could prove to be spoilers. The 66-year-old real estate agent doesn't particularly like Marshall, a hawkish Democrat and former Army Ranger, but she said she'll vote for him because she likes his conservative Republican opponent, former Rep. Mac Collins, even less.

    "I'm going to go for the moderate, and these days that tends to be Democrats," Knight said.

    Sandy Rubin, a high school teacher in Macon, voted for Bush and said she's also likely to vote for Marshall. Rubin said the GOP's focus on issues that appeal to social conservatives, such as gay marriage and abortion, have turned her off.

    "I care about job security and education. The things I hear the Republicans emphasizing in their campaigns are not things that affect me or my family," said the 39-year-old mother of two.

    If this trend holds, it will bring Southern women more in line with women nationally, a very good thing for Democrats:

    Nationally, the AP-Ipsos poll found that only 28 percent of women approve of Bush's handling of the war. Bush did better in the South, but only slightly — just 32 percent of women in the region said they approve of his handling of the war.

    In addition, the three Senate seats that could hold the answer to whether or not the Senate goes Democratic, are all border states: Virginia, Missouri, and Tennessee.  At this point, the Republicans, Allen, Talent and Corker, are all ahead of their Democratic opponents, Webb, McCaskill, and Ford, by about 2 points, according to a post by Chris Bowers at MyDD today.  If Southern women continue to move toward the Democrats, holding their noses or not, we could be in pretty good shape in November. 

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 8, 2006 at 01:35 PM in Inside Baseball, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

    Comparing Tim Sheldon to Joe Lieberman

    Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny and Firedoglake has discovered that our own Democratic State Senator in the 35th LD, Tim Sheldon, is as big a "brand-wrecker" as Lieberman.  I love that term.  I suspect we'll hear it more over the next two years as we go about cleaning out the debris in the Democratic woodpile. 

    Howie got the message about Sheldon from Progressive Majority, which has been spear-heading the attempt to replace Tim Sheldon with a far better Democrat, Kyle Taylor Lucas.  The State Party has come out against Sheldon and endorsed Lucas in the primary, a pretty unusual but welcome step.  Here's Howie's take:   

    Democrats don't get worse than Tim Sheldon. Unlike Lieberman he doesn't even make believe. He supported Bush for President right out in the open. Like Lieberman he has lots of nasty, vicious Republican talking points to throw at Democrats, giving the media an opportunity to ascribe right wing clap trap to "bi-partisan" opinion. He called Howard Dean "the most extreme figure in national politics." He supported Dino Rossi, the extreme right wing loon Washington Repugs ran against Christine Gregoire, and after Gregoire's victory Sheldon joined Republicans in the state senate in a vote to not certify her. He has also contributed thousands of dollars to GOP candidates.

    A vicious and unrelenting homophobe, he cast the deciding vote in 2005 against a bill that would have made it illegal to discriminate against individuals based on sexual orientation. Over all his voting record is more Republican than Democratic on issue after issue-- always voting for corporate ambitions to gut environmental safeguards-- and supporting the religionist right, even on stem cell research.

    It says a lot when a state House race attracts the attention of the national blogs.  Let's dump Sheldon.  I'm tired of having to count him in the Republican column when we're counting pros and cons for our progressive-backed bills.

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 8, 2006 at 12:51 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (6)

    Don't You Wish He Lived in Your District?

    Kirsten Gillibrand is another one of those great new Democratic candidates running against a not-quite grown-up fraternity boy in NY-20, Republican John Sweeney.  Like many Republicans, Sweeney has a race on his hands this year and he is evidently attacking his challenger unfairly.  I'm guessing he's going to wish he hadn't done that after this current ad campaign is over.

    You see, actor David Straithairn, who played newscaster Edward R. Murrow in the movie "Good Night, and Good Luck" lives in this district.  And Straithairn, backed up by a great team of video technicians and ad-folks, did a couple of versions of an ad for Democratic candidate Gillibrand.  He is playing Murrow in this ad and it is great.  Take a look.

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 8, 2006 at 10:56 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

    September 07, 2006

    Two Great Anti-Reichert Videos

    The DCCC has put up a great video up, which I'm guessing will also be an ad, called "Rubber Stamp Reichert"

    And Washblog has a very catchy YouTube video-clip up from Andrew Tsau and Mike McIntee called "Have You Had Enough?"

    I don't think that Reichert and the Republicans can withstand the creativity of the Democrats this year.   There's also a little non-video site called "Where Does Reichert Stand" that the state Democratic Party put up that has the background information on how little Reichert's votes are driven by the needs of the people of the 8th CD and how much they are driven by the Republican leadership and the oligarchy they represent. 

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 7, 2006 at 12:28 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

    September 06, 2006

    Burner Up 3 Points Over Reichert

    Wow!  Darcy at 49% to Reichert's 46%.  Both DailyKos and MyDD have new poll numbers for a large number of the competitive House races.  Polling was done by Majority Watch, which is a project of RT Strategies and Constiuent Dynamics on August 27-29th and have a MoE of 3.1%.  The polling is done by phone using a voice response system so  they may not have the same accuracy as some of the firms we are more familiar with.  However, in looking over the numbers for other races that have been polled more recently, they look pretty accurate to me. 

    This is great news for Darcy at this point in the campaign.  The details have Reichert at 32% strong and 14% weak and Darcy at 31% strong and 18% weak with 5% undecided.  With Reichert's strong name recognition, he's probably got about all he's going to get.  The odds are very good that Darcy will continue to pick up voters as they meet her and learn about her and hear her message.   The poll also had President Bush's approval rating in the 8th at 38% with a 56% disapproval.  That's not going to be good for Reichert either, no matter how much he tries to distance himself from Bush and the Republican leadership.  Can't help that Karl Rove is coming to town to raise money for Reichert this weekend either in terms of that perception.

    Polling on voter motivation slightly favors Democrats.  When asked how likely they were to vote on a scale of 1-9, Republicans came back with 8.2, Independents with 8.4 and Democrats with 8.5 likelihood.  That's all pretty high for an off-year election. 

    Contact Darcy's campaign to volunteer or contribute money.  Although it took them awhile to take Darcy seriously, I don't think the Republicans are going to roll over and play dead. 

    The overall message is pretty good too.  It definitely looks like we are trending Democratic overall, enough so that Chris Bowers in that MyDD post is now calling it for the Democrats to take over the House!

    Goldy's Update

    David Goldstein has an update to the polling numbers.  He called Bill Broadhead, whom he knows and who happens, unbeknownst to Goldy initially, to run Constituent Dynamics, the company doing the polling in question.  Goldy takes it from here:

    Anyway, here’s the inside scoop. Broadhead, of course, vouches for his poll’s methodology, as well as the broader reputation of IVR’s (robo-polls) in general, which he says have proven very accurate in recent years. He emphasized, however, that CD does not rely on the less-expensive (and less-reliable) random-dialing technique, but rather uses the voter rolls in each district to prescreen for frequent voters. They then combine the age and gender data from survey responses with that on the voter rolls to create an automatic match-back between the respondent and a specific household member.

    As for the somewhat surprising results that show Burner with an early lead despite having very little paid media and a huge name ID disadvantage, Broadhead sees this as part of a larger trend borne out across all 30 House races surveyed: that the 2006 election is in the process of being nationalized like no other race since 1994. The difference, as Broadhead reads the data, is that unlike 1994, when it was largely angry white men who turned against the Democratic-controlled Congress, the anger in 2006 is more broadly distributed across the electorate.

    President Bush is proving widely unpopular amongst 8th CD voters, with his job approval/disapproval rating standing at a dismal 38% to 58%. So rather than this being the typical contest between two competing candidates, Broadhead sees this election shaping up as a referendum on President Bush and the Republican controlled Congress.

    “What’s going on in the individual elections, while important,” Broadhead told me, “is not quite as important as what we see when there is not this national overlay.”

    Um… that’s “the wave” that everybody keeps talking about.

    As Goldy says at the end, "I bet there are some nervous folks over at Reichert headquarters this afternoon."

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 6, 2006 at 01:01 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (2)

    Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?

    Keith Olbermann at MSNBC has got our back again.  Last night he responded to another one of Bush's 9/11 speeches, this one from yesterday morning.  Olbermann stands up to Bush's attack on the media in which Bush slyly discusses a purported letter from Osama bin Laden threatening to put a media wedge between the American people and its government. 

    Olbermann says:

    The President and his colleagues have led us before to such waters.  We will not drink again.

    Then he ends with the famous question put to Senator Joseph McCarty by Special Counsel to the Army, Joseph Welch, in 1954 during the height of the McCarthy hearings.  "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"  How appropriate.  Take a look.

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 6, 2006 at 11:46 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Leading Edge Can Be Bleeding Edge

    Poor Oregon has become the example of what not to do in property rights legislation.  After years of having some of the best land use laws in the country, Oregon passed their version of I-933 in 2004, Measure 37.  Since then, Oregon has had to content with 1,994 claims, seeking $4.2 billion in compensation from various state and local agencies. That is the summary through July 7, 2006, from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, according to our friend TJ at Loaded Orygun, a kick-ass newish blog in Oregon. 

    TJ used an earlier article by Eric Pryne from the Seattle Times as his jumping off point.  The article was entitled  "I-933 finds support lukewarm support" which pretty much says it all.  When the Master Builder Association and the BIAW back out on supporting your right-wing "property rights" initiative, you're pretty much toast.   

    Trying to make the best of a bad deal, Dan Wood, Farm Bureau government-affairs director and sponsor of both I-933 and the 1995 failed Washington State property rights initiative, is quoted by the Seattle Times article as saying that the big guys have the resources to deal with current Growth Management Act regulations but the small folks don't. 

    But, according to the High Country News as cited by TJ, the small guys in Oregon are having a bad case of buyer's remorse.   

    Bill Rose, who lives 20 miles south of Portland in the Willamette Valley, supported the measure to relax regulations. Now, a neighbor has filed a claim to convert a 40-acre berry farm into 280 houses. "Measure 37 will destroy this valley the best place to live and farm that I know of," Rose said.

    Renee Ross of Molalla, southeast of Portland, liked Measure 37. Two neighbors filed claims, one to build 10 houses on 60 acres, and the other for a gravel mine on 80 acres. Clackamas County approved both. Ted Schroeder, a doctor in the Grande Ronde Valley of northeast Oregon has serious regrets: " People got bamboozled, they got suckered in. I kick myself for being so naive."

    Let's make sure the voters in Washington learn from our neighbors to the south in lovely, leading, now bleeding, Oregon.

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 6, 2006 at 08:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Update on McMorris - Team Abramoff Links

    Dengre, the diarist at DailyKos who is doing such phenomenal research and writing on the Abramoff Team in Congress has more details up today.  He/she is more specific about what the Congresscritters did that caused their name to appear.  I am truly awed at how deeply Cathy McMorris got herself into the muck in the short time she has been in Congress.   She racked up a 2/4/5/6 on Dengre's newest list.

    2=Staff Connections
    4=Public Records
    5=Mentioned in Billing Records or Emails
    6=Position to do Jack favors 

    All the more reason to get her out quickly before she gets as entrenched as our porky Alaskan Congresscritters to the north.  It does the citizens of eastern Washington no good if the money she helps siphon off from the national treasury goes to the big corporate interests in other parts of the country.  Sheesh.  At least the Alaskan folks are bringing most of their pork home. 

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 6, 2006 at 07:34 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

    September 05, 2006

    Abramoff's Team Player - Cathy McMorris

    There are so many good reasons for the folks in Washington's 5th CD to vote for Peter Goldmark - his integrity, his policy, his roots in the rural community, his intellectual capability and his charisma, to name but a few.  But increasingly we find reasons for the voters to turn Cathy McMorris out as well, separate from the excellent person we would be replacing her with.  Here's a powerful one: she is deeply mired in the immoral, illegal team that Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay created as part of what will undoubtedly be known as the worst period of corruption in American politics.  And that is saying a lot, given that she has only been in Congress a year and a half. 

    A diarist over at DailyKos, dengre, has been researching the complicated web of Abramoff's scandal team since 1999.  He has spent extensive time going through old Jack Abramoff files, documents and news clips.  He has identified 53 Congresscritters with ties to Jack Abramoff and the Slush Fund behind the Gingrich/DeLay/Bush K-Street Project.  Here's what he says about the list he created:

    When it comes to this list I have focused on how Abramoff and the Republican Party spent the last eleven years protecting a system of sweatshops, human trafficking, force prostitution and forced abortion on the Commonwealth of North Mariana Islands (CNMI) for fun, power and profit. I want to remind folks that this GOP corruption is about more than ripping off casinos.

    Dengre's Areas of Contact (multiple areas required to make the List):

    1. Money - Contributions directly from Jack and/or his team of lobbyists, the GOP slush fund Abramoff managed, or the GOP Leadership PAC donations, especially those funded by Abramoff   
    2. Staff Connections - Candidates who had staffers who went to work for Jack or who took trips paid for by Jack or who had staffers directly trained by Jack   
    3. The Public Record, including Billing Records and Emails - Candidates with publicly reported ties to Abramoff, most particularly those involved in travels to the Mariana Islands and the Indian affairs schemes
    4. Congressional Favors - Candidates who were part of DeLay's House Leadership, particularly those GOP leaders of the Resources Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, or the Appropriations Committee, and who were in a position to help Abramoff and DeLay in return for financial contributions

    There are four categories of closeness to the Abramoff scandals.  The dirty dozen in the first category include Tom DeLay, Denny Haskert, Roy Blunt, Conrad Burns, Richard Pombo, Don Young of Alaska - you know the ones we've come to associate with Abramoff and his long-running corruption scandals.  The amazing this is that Cathy McMorris - freshman Congresscritter with a deeply religious background - shows up in Category 2 - Team Players, those folks who have many connections to Abramoff and were on his Team on Capital Hill.  That was pretty damned fast work on her part. 

    Based on dengre's diary, I did some digging of my own.   Based on data released by the FEC on August 7, 2006, of the $378,148 received by McMorris so far in this election cycle, $57,709 came from GOP Leadership PACs - primarily money provided by the folks in Category 1 above, and from Ideology/Single Issue groups, including $12,455 from GOP Whip Roy Blunt's "Rely on Your Beliefs" PAC. 

    That is all in addition to the money that McMorris receives from special interest groups.  The same FEC report lists $32,822 in contributions from Energy/Natural Resource companies and $25,500 from Health (read Pharmaceuticals).

    Help turn her out.  Contribute to Peter Goldmark's campaign.

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 5, 2006 at 08:39 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

    September 02, 2006

    Witness to History - Being at Ground Zero on 9/11

    I have a guest editorial up at the PI for Sunday's paper entitled "Is more violence and less safety what we want?"  The piece, about my thoughts about having been at Ground Zero on 9/11, kicks off the PI's week of pre-5th anniversary of 9/11 coverage.  It's a sign of our differing roles in the NW blogosphere that I wasn't even the first one to notice it.  Both Goldy and Howie beat me to the story.  No links today, guys.  This is my story

    I rarely ever talk about being at Ground Zero on 9/11.  In my personal life, it's just a world away.   It isn't until times like the approach of the 5th anniversary that it seems like it might have value to interweave my experiences that day with the reactions of our country to the impact of what happened there.  Thus the guest editorial.  Might as well use the hook of that unique experience to question the Bush Administration's use of our shock and fear to take us down a road that we will rue for generations.   

    It was pretty amazing to have a front row seat at one of the defining moments of our history.  As I stood watching the first tower burn and then saw the second plane approach and tear into the second building, I knew we were dealing with bin Laden. People sometimes question how I could have known at that time but never people who know me well.  I have always paid deep attention to what is going on in the world.  I had read about who was responsible for the explosions at our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; I knew who was responsible for the Cole bombing.  I also knew that President Clinton had been hamstrung by the radical right in going after bin Laden.  There was that entire "Wag the Dog" meme going on - ridiculing Clinton for the two attempts he made to go after bin Laden and his holdings, once in the Sudan and the second time in Afghanistan, saying he was trying to draw attention away from his "impeachable offenses" with the Monica Lewinsky affair.  Of the many things I loathe the right for, that is top of the list.

    For me personally, the impact of having been right there, was interesting.  Unlike a colleague who was also a witness on the scene, I did not have nightmares or feel the need to be nicer to my friends.  My personal life was in pretty good shape.  I did have to heal emotionally from the almost physical shock.  In the four days that we were unable to get out of New York, we spent most of the time in Central Park, soaking up the green trees, the lovely ponds, the surreal normality of parents and nannies slowly pushing prams and old men playing chess in the crisp fall weather.  Upon arrival back in California, I walked and hiked and had massages and cooked and had friends to dinner.  And wrote.  My kind of healing.

    Over time, I noticed a big jump in my sense of my mortality.  Duh!  As my accountant said a couple months later in urging me to make a will, "a few blocks east and you would have been toast".  That sense of mortality came into my life as fearlessness and on-going questions about doing what I want to do with my life.  For me that meant, over the next couple years, ending what had been an enjoyable and relatively lucrative career in business and moving back home to Washington State to participate in politics full time.  With no financial planning and no safety net.   I was just doing what I was called to do - find a place where my efforts might make a difference.  In a place I love.  So here I am, struggling to earn a living (you know us bloggers don't get paid) and continuing to be a witness to history. 

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 2, 2006 at 08:23 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (6)

    September 01, 2006

    Drunky McLiar

    It appears that Mike!(tm) McGavick can't manage to tell the truth when he's being "candid" with us.  His account of his 1993 drunk driving arrest doesn't square with the police record.

    For example, in a sketchy, four-sentence description of the incident on his campaign Web site Aug. 24, McGavick wrote that he was stopped when he "cut a yellow light too close in 1993" while driving home with Gaelynn, now his wife.

    The Montgomery County, Md., police officer who arrested him Nov. 21, 1993, said in his report that he saw McGavick "drive through a steady red light."

    The candidate, who is running against Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, said in an interview last week that he was issued a citation but wasn't arrested.

    But the police report and a police spokesman Friday said McGavick was placed under arrest, handcuffed, driven to a district police station and handcuffed to a desk while he was questioned and signed various forms.

     

    Posted by Jon Stahl on September 1, 2006 at 04:07 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (3)

    Bruce Sings of Katrina

    How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?  Here's a Friday video-clip from Bruce - a rewriting of an old depression-era song originally written by Blind Alfred Reed a month after the depression hit.  Springsteen altered the song to capture the post-Katrina disaster.   He dedicates it to President Bystander.   

    In honor of my sister, Lisa, who will fly 1000 miles to catch one of Bruce's concerts.

    Posted by Lynn Allen on September 1, 2006 at 09:33 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)