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October 31, 2006

What the Neighbors Could Do

My good friends at Sightline have a  great No On I-933 ad hitting the air (and the Internet Pipes) today.  It's funny/serious.

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Posted by Jon Stahl on October 31, 2006 at 05:27 PM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 30, 2006

Beyond Comprehension

The American military has not been tracking weapons sent to the Iraqi security forces.  According to an article in the New York Times by James Glanz, Senator John Warner, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked for an assessment in May of how the logistics operation for the Iraqi Reconstruction and military operations. 

The answers came Sunday from the inspector general’s office, which found major discrepancies in American military records on where thousands of 9-millimeter pistols and hundreds of assault rifles and other weapons have ended up. The American military did not even take the elementary step of recording the serial numbers of nearly half a million weapons provided to Iraqis, the inspector general found, making it impossible to track or identify any that might be in the wrong hands.

Exactly where untracked weapons could end up — and whether some have been used against American soldiers — were not examined in the report, although black-market arms dealers thrive on the streets of Baghdad, and official Iraq Army and police uniforms can easily be purchased as well, presumably because government shipments are intercepted or otherwise corrupted.

The numbers are quite large.

In its assessment of Iraqi weaponry, the inspector general concluded that of the 505,093 weapons that have been given to the Ministries of Interior and Defense over the last several years, serial numbers for only 12,128 were properly recorded. The weapons include rocket-propelled grenade launchers, assault rifles, machine guns, shotguns, semiautomatic pistols and sniper rifles.

Of those weapons, 370,000 were purchased with American taxpayer money under what is called the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund, or I.R.R.F., and therefore fell within the inspector general’s mandate.

Despite the potential risks from losing track of those weapons — involving 19 different contracts and 142 delivery orders — the United States recorded serial numbers for no more than a few thousand, the inspector general said.

There are standard regulations for registering military weaponry in that way, governed by the Department of Defense small-arms serialization program. The inspector general’s report said that when asked why so many weapons went to Iraq with no record of serial numbers, American military officials in Baghdad replied that they did not believe the regulations applied to them.

<snip>

There were also significant discrepancies in the numbers of weapons purchased and those in Iraqi warehouses. While 176,866 semiautomatic pistols were purchased with American money, just 163,386 showed up in warehouses — meaning that more than 13,000 were unaccounted for. All 751 of the M1-F assault rifles sent to Iraq were missing, and nearly 100 MP-5 machine guns.

I guess we know where the insurgents are getting their weapons, eh?

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 30, 2006 at 10:49 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Great Numbers

We've got a rash of great numbers today.  Majority Watch has a huge set of numbers on Congressional races across the country.  Darcy and Reichert are still in a dead heat but Darcy is up by 2 points; 49-47.  She's going to win, folks.  Reichert is under 50%.  And Peter is gaining on Cathy McMorris, 46-51.  Peter can pull this one out.  It will be down to the wire but he can do it.

And speaking of upsets, The Idaho Statesman has similar great news on the Idaho races.  In the 1st CD, Democrat Larry Grant has pulled to within 2 points of Bill Sali with a large number of undecided voters still.  It's 39-37.  That is tremendous news.  Undecideds most often break for the challenger.  Plus, Butch Otter is only leading Democratic challenger Jerry Brady by 1 point, 44-43, in the gubernatorial race.  Big possibilities.

I'm also thrilled about the latest numbers in the Virginia Senatorial race.  Three new polls have Jim Webb up over George Allen.  Gallup has it at 50-46; Rasmussen has it at 51-46; and Garin Hart Yang has it at 47-43. 

Looking good.  Nice numbers to keep all of you who are phoning and doorbelling and donating going.  Thanks for all you do. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 30, 2006 at 10:15 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

The NY Times and Darcy

The paper of record had two articles discussing the upcoming election that specifically highlighted Darcy Burner and the 8th CD this weekend. 

The first, entitled "Winning Women?", written by Alexandra Starr, focused on the lower barriers for women running in the West.  The first paragraph used Darcy as an example:

Darcy Burner has never held public office — the former Microsoft project manager is just 35 — but nonetheless she appears to have a good shot at becoming the first Democratic representative from Washington’s Eighth District. The timing of her bid is propitious: in this scandal-saturated election year, her lack of political experience may be a boon. And the fact that Burner is an adept fund-raiser has fueled her quick rise. There’s another, slightly more intangible factor at play, too: Evergreen-state residents are accustomed to female leadership. “You don’t have the hurdle of convincing voters that women can do the job when the models include people without a Y chromosome,” Burner told me recently. And in fact, Washington is the only state in the nation where both senators and the governor are women.

The second, written by Jodi Kantor, is entitled "Liberal Republican Suburb Turns Furious with GOP" and details how mild-mannered, socially liberal moderates in Bellevue are reacting to the Bush Administration and specifically to their totally illogical stance on stem-cell research.  An exerpt:

In Bellevue, the professional is political. Rather than religion or culture, what unites the diverse population — a quarter of residents are foreign born — are the values of their workplaces: technological innovation, accuracy, efficiency.

And this year, one issue incenses them above all others: restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.

It is a matter of concern across the country, even across parties. But for many engineers and their ilk, restriction of stem cell research is what gay marriage is to conservative Christians, a phenomenon so counter to their basic values that they cannot vote for any candidate who supports it. After all, for Bellevue’s professionals, science is not only a means of creating wealth but also an idealistic pursuit, the most promising way they know of improving the human condition.

“For hundreds of years, science has had its own jurisprudence over the truth. It’s called peer review, and it works pretty well,” said Mr. Mattison, whose father had Alzheimer’s and his uncle Parkinson’s disease. “I’m outraged that a mere politician would interpret science for me.”

Wow!  And is this ever refreshing:

The politics of Microsoft employees is a subdrama unto itself. In the 2000 presidential election, many voted for President Bush, who was expected to curtail the Clinton administration’s antitrust case against the company. But now “the vibe is pretty Democratic,” Ms. Peterson said, and many employees who cursed the Democrats just a few years ago now plan on voting for the party.

Microsoft looms so large here, it influences the views even of those it does not employ. Several members of the First Congregational Church of Bellevue, speaking over home-pressed apple cider, said they were mortified by America’s role abroad in a way they had not been since the Vietnam War.

It's quite an interesting article.  While I'm even more hopeful, I still plan on getting out to doorbell two more times for Darcy this weekend.  They would love more volunteers

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 30, 2006 at 11:17 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (3)

Jay Inslee's Contributions To Democrats

I was not surprised when I got a reply from Chris McCullough, Jay Inslee's campaign manager, on my recent post nudging our state elected Democrats at the federal level to pony up some of the money they are sitting on.  He provided information on how much Inslee has contributed to the Democrats this year.  Chris says Inslee has directly contributed $481,000 to candidates, party organizations and the Yes on 937 campaign. 

Inslee is a stand-up guy and a team player and his contributions reflect that.  Several months ago, I interviewed Jim Davis, who had been a Democratic candidate in the 4th in 2000.  He talked about how much Inslee had done for him back then, both financially and in coaching and mentoring. 

Chris sent me a copy of an email he had sent Chris Bowers at MyDD, instigator of the "Use It or Lose It" campaign.  I've edited the parts that don't need explaining to WA state voters:

Inslee has donated $180,000 to the DCCC, $167,000 to individual federal and state candidates), $81,000 to the WA Dem state party, and $50,000 to the renewable energy initiative in WA State. Since Sept. 30th, Inslee has contributed a total of $80,250 to these causes.

Besides what he's contributed from his campaign, Inslee has also raised more than $1 million this cycle for other campaigns, including over $500,000 for U.S. House candidates, $500,000 for the clean energy initiative, and money for state legislative races.

As to why Congressman Inslee is working so hard to raise money and using it to help other candidates, the short answer is that Inslee is a team player.  Last cycle he gave away almost $400,000.  But Inslee also believes that this will be 1994 all over again except that the Republicans will rightly be on the receiving end of voter's anger, so he hopes that all of his colleagues (and a record number have already) contribute more this year to help Democrats win a governable majority.

Chris also added that he personally thinks the "Use It or Lose It" project is a good idea and he's glad it's having an impact.

Thanks Jay.  We will remember.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 30, 2006 at 10:38 AM in Inside Baseball, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (2)

October 29, 2006

Want to Know How a President Gets Unfettered Authority?

Over the last two weeks, a DailyKos diarist, FranklySpeaking has been researching, writing and posting a series on the votes of Dave Reichert.  He has graciously agreed to have us re-post these on Evergreen Politics over the next week.  The first one was posted here yesterday.  Here is the second

You have to love the Washington coast.  Those of us who have scrambled along the dunes and picnicked in the driftwood on a crisp, clear day know that there is nowhere in the world like it.  It's the kind of place you have to protect.  And if you develop even a sliver of it, you'd want the most thoughtful, careful development you can have, because frankly, God isn't making any more of it.

What would you say if I told you that there was federal legislation designed to give George W. Bush the unilateral authority to hand portions of the Washington coast over to oil companies to build refineries?  You'd probably be skeptical, thinking that such an idea would never be seriously considered.  At the very least, you'd be sure Washington's congressional delegation would fight to the death against it.  Sadly though, you'd be wrong.

Read on for the true story of what's going wrong in Washington, DC. There is such a bill, a bill proudly supported by Rep. Dave Reichert, a bill that passed the House of Representatives by just one vote.  It's a bill that defies any rational thinking.

On October 7, 2005, the House of Representatives considered H.R. 3893. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
claimed
it was a response to Hurricane Katrina and an "antidote for high gasoline prices."  The Sierra Club
claimed that the bill  exploited the tragedy of hurricane Katrina and would solve America’s energy problems.]    Let's see if we
can't get past the rhetoric and find out the truth behind the legislation.

 
Read the bill if you like.  It has a lot of nasty stuff in it - weakens the Clean Air Act for example.
Maybe I'll get into that in a future diary, but for now let's focus on the Washington coast.  The bill
states clearly that

the President shall designate sites on
Federal lands … that are appropriate for the purposes
of siting a refinery.

Once the President makes the designation, the bill requires the land to be leased to the oil companies. 
And just to make sure there are no legal complications, the bill says that notwithstanding any
provision of Federal law providing for the disposition of the site, a lease pursuant to a Presidential
designation "shall be deemed to be the appropriate disposition of the site."

This is very broad authority for the President.  He would be empowered to make almost any federal land
available to build refineries.   The bill excludes the National Park System, National Monuments, and
wilderness areas, but all other public land is fair game.  That's right, all Forest Service lands and BLM
lands, wild and scenic rivers, and every National Wildlife Refuge would suddenly be available for
development if the President liked the idea.  And all you have to do is look at the current location of
refineries in Washington, California, Texas, and New Jersey to know that the coastal areas are where they
like to put refineries.
 
Take a look at Washington’s Wildlife Refuges. From the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge near Port
Angeles to the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge near the Long Beach Peninsula, there would be plenty of
sites to choose from.  Maybe they'd need to put in a breakwater but oil companies could find a suitable
location if they wanted.

Why does it make sense to give the President the power to unilaterally make that decision?  Has he really
demonstrated himself to be that good of a "decider"?  We aren't talking about a public notice and comment
rulemaking or a Presidential commission.  There is no process for state and local analysis.  We are talking
about unfettered Presidential power to provide federal public land to oil companies.

Put yourself in Reichert's shoes.  It's early October 2005.  You know that soon you will have to vote on
this controversial bill.  There is a lot of intensity around the bill.  Some groups strongly oppose it and
are calling you repeatedly, practically begging you to vote "no."  But some groups are urging you to vote
yes.  You take stock of what the various groups are saying, before you make a decision:

1.    The League of Women Voters calls the bill  "ill-conceived and dangerous".

2.    The National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties and
National Conference of State Legislatures all announce their opposition to the bill.  They believe that
there should be state and local involvement in the siting of these types of facilities. 

3.    The League of Conservation Voters  strongly opposes the bill.

4.    Justice and Consumer groups oppose the bill saying it “exploits the disasters caused by Hurricanes Katrina
and Rita to promote policies long sought by the oil and gas industries.”


5.    The Wilderness Society explicitly lays out the risks to the public lands.

6.     The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office calculates  the bill will cost $3 billion dollars in taxpayer
funds.


7.    Even a Republican Member of Congress  wrote a letter to every Member of the House stating
that HR 3893 "will increase the deficit, harm the environment, undermine the states, and give charity to
the oil companies while doing virtually nothing to help consumers."

On the other hand, President Bush supported the bill. As did the  DC trade association representing oil refineries.

Now, before you make your decision, layer on top of this the fact that refineries are facilities with
dismal track records.  They spill noxious chemicals into their communities.
Refinery  accidents injure workers and innocent bystanders in the communities. Are decisions about siting these
facilities something that should be left to one person -- particularly George W. Bush?

What would your decision be?

Reichert weighed these factors and made his decision. He decided  to vote for the bill and later put out a  press release touting his support of the bill.
Reichert decided that the President deserved unfettered authority to give oil companies the use of
public lands. 

In this case, his vote made a real difference.  The bill passed by a single vote, 212-210.  The Republican
leadership had to extend a five minute vote for 50 minutes in order to twist enough arms to get the bill
passed.  Visit  ThinkProgress for must-see video of the whole thing. Not a single Democrat voted for the bill.  And if
Reichert had voted "no," the bill wouldn't have passed, it would have been tied at 211-211.

I doubt any of us would have made the decision that Reichert did that day.  He had a moment to demonstrate
the independence he talks so much about on the campaign trail and failed to do so.  Dave Reichert is
part of the problem.

Now, here's the solution: Darcy Burner.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 29, 2006 at 10:59 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sitting on a Lot of Money

There are still a lot of state Democrats at the federal level sitting on a lot of money when it could be used by Darcy and Peter and other Democrats running in close races.  We have the possibility of taking a lot of seats this year.  The national pollsters are saying anywhere from 15-30 and possibly more.  But there is a need to counter what the Republicans will be doing this next week.  And that takes money.

Last week we nudged Norm Dicks to give some of his unused campaign money to the national and local Democrats who needed it.  This was part of "The Use It or Lose It" campaign that Chris Bowers has been pushing.  Then we, along with Goldy, gave him a big shout out for doing so.  THANKS, NORM!

When Bowers put together his program, he was very conservative in what he was asking.  He limited his requests to the 69 Democrats who either had no opposition or whose opposition had spent no more than $10,000.  Although asking outright for money is provocative to the establishment Democrats, and heaven knows, the bloggers are getting uppity and successfully challenging the Democratic status quo, it was a very logical request. 

We're going to do it one more time.  So, according to Political Money Line as of 10/18, our state Democrats are sitting on:

Patty Murray            $1,079,100
Jay Inslee (01)              798,301
Brian Baird (03)             831,402
Adam Smith (09)           437,258

Cantwell has a real race, although thankfully she seems to be pulling away, and Rick Larsen (02) is up on TV.  But the three congressional candidates listed above have no real opposition.  They only just slipped out of the box that Bowers drew.  So, maybe they'll decide to pony up in the next day or two anyway.  Or, they may have already done so and it hasn't shown up yet.  I know that Inslee, in particular, has been working hard for both Darcy and Peter.  Let us know what they've done and we'll give them a shout out as well.   Otherwise, I have to say, we'll remember.

UPDATE:  I did get word back from Jay Inslee's campaign manager about his impressive list of contributions to Democrats.  I wrote a separate post on that.

AND: I forgot to include Jim McDermott who has some money but is using his fundraising prowess to fund his own defense in the lawsuit that so critically protects all of our first amendment rights.  Information on that here.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 29, 2006 at 10:07 AM in Candidate Races, Taking Action, Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (1)

Getting Out The Vote: Doorbelling for Darcy

Dan has a nice piece up on the doorbelling he did yesterday for Darcy Burner.  It's at both On the Road to 2008 and DailyKos.   Here's an exerpt:

Walking a neighborhood, knocking on doors or ringing door bells, is vitally important to the effort of getting people out to vote. It is also hard work. I was given a single precinct on Mercer Island - about 4 north south roads and 3 east west intersecting roads in a hilly neighborhood. I had a list of 85 houses to cover and it took me over four hours to do so. While the good weather surely accounted for a lot of folks being out and about, a good number were home. The general feedback I received was largely positive and in support of Democratic candidates. I was wearing my Darcy Burner button, so it was clear who I was for anyone wanting to check me out through their peep hole or window. People I talked to expressed their frustration with the current Congress, and the strong need for a change, many indicating strong support for Democrats. People liked the fact Darcy wasn't backing down in her television advertising, and was hitting back when attacked. In hindsight I was pleasantly surprised that most everyone I spoke to were not bothered by my brief interruption. One lady thanked me for doing what I was doing. A small number indicated they would be voting for the Republican canidates, but that was hardly a surprise given I was on Mercer Island - I actually expected far more. If I came across a "No Soliciting" sign (and there were a few homes displaying one) I did not knock or ring a doorbell, and instead left a flyer. I also left Darcy Burner flyers at every home where there was no answer, after talking a moment to add a short note with my pen at the bottom that generally read, "Please vote on Nov. 7th for change in D.C. - Thanks!"

There are a lot of comments on the DailyKos diary that indicate that a large number of folks have been part of the incredibly important GOTV effort in the 8th.  The bloggers in particular, have been out in force.  In addition to Dan, I too was on the ground yesterday in the 8th, although in a very different part of the district.   We both saw Carl in the office, who was on the phones yesterday.  N in Seattle was on the phones on Thursday.  I've heard that Andrew is spending time on the ground.  I know Noemie walks in her area in south King.  I'm sure others are as well.   It's important work.   Here's my comment from Dan's post at DailyKos.

I too was out doorbelling for Darcy today with a friend.  The 8th District is very diverse and we took a very rural area out in the southeast of the District.

We knew we were in typically Republican territory when we saw a lot of signs for Republican down-ticket candidates and signs in favor of Initiative 933, the "property rights" initiative up for vote next week.

There were a far higher number of undecided voters and voters who had not heard of Darcy than I have been used to running into in the last month of canvassing for her in more suburban areas. 

My friend and I felt like we were part of the 50-state strategy, working to reach those folks who hadn't thought much about who they would vote for or were pretty sure they didn't like Bush's leadership but hadn't connected it to the Congressional candidates.  It was rewarding time. 

If you can manage 4 hours of time, you can walk a precinct or make a bunch of calls.  It is actually fun and a key part of taking our country back.  Email the campaign and let them know when you can help.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 29, 2006 at 09:27 AM in Candidate Races, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 28, 2006

A Round-up of Great Ads

The Internet plus YouTube makes it possible to see what is going on all over the country during election season.  For some of us wildly political types, this is such a treat.  Then add in how creative the Democrats have been this season.  So, here's a sampling of the best of the last couple days:

    A great ad hitting Lieberman where it counts

    Wesley Clark takes it to Lieberman as well

    James Webb responds to the latest George Allen nonsense

            Part 1

            Part 2

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 28, 2006 at 10:23 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 27, 2006

Connelly on the Times Editorial Policy

A few days ago Joel Connelly wrote a post on the PI political blog.  Yeah, I know most of us don't even know the PI has a political blog and it is very hard to find online.  Anyway, once I manage to find their blog, I read a few day's worth since I never know when I'm going to stumble over it again. 

So I find this piece by Connelly from earlier this week discussing the Seattle Times editorial page policies over the years.  Apparently since 1988, and an endorsement of Michael Dukakis over George Bush Sr., there was an 18 year "Glasnost" which he attributes to several factors:

The publisher was going through a midlife makeover. A woman, Mindy Cameron, had taken over as editorial page editor. The paper showed signs of a genuine concern for lingering racial inequities in the United States.

Prior to that time, the Blethen family ran the Times' editorial policy in what Connelly calls "Seattle's Duller Daily", very conservatively.   And now, now there are four Blethens on the editorial board, making the estate tax the paramount issue.  The results?

An endorsement in the Dave Reichert-Darcy Burner race consisted of an old-fashioned women-aren't-qualified attack on Burner. Signs of moderation were discovered in a down-the-line backer of the House Republican leadership, Rep. Cathy McMorris, recently identified by Human Events as one of the nation's top 10 rising conservatives.

And, Sunday, came Fannie's why-we-agree-with-Maria-but-back-Mike editorial in the U.S. Senate race.

If, as some have said, the PI is on its last legs, heaven help us. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 27, 2006 at 11:19 PM in Candidate Races, Media, Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (2)

Rural Voters Shifting Voting Support

Nice video-clip on the changing rural voting patterns.  Here.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 27, 2006 at 11:11 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Great No on 933 ad just in time

Technorati Tags:

Posted by Jeff on October 27, 2006 at 11:33 AM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (7)

Dave Reichert Opposes Reducing the Nation's Dependence on Foreign Oil

Over the last two weeks, a DailyKos diarist, FranklySpeaking has been researching, writing and posting a series on the votes of Dave Reichert.  He has graciously agreed to have us re-post these on Evergreen Politics over the next week.  Here is the first:

In the past, Members of Congress have been able to serve their entire congressional career and never have the opportunity to cast a vote on reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil.  Major energy legislation has been considered maybe once a decade if that.

Dave Reichert is serving only his first term in Congress.  But in 2005, he got his chance to take a stand on the nation's energy future.  In April 2005, Congress debated and ultimately passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  This was the Bush energy plan -- a pork barrel give away to the biggest energy companies -- that took no meaningful action on our country's biggest problems, dependence on foreign oil and global warming.  Reichert voted for it.

Congress considered amendments to begin weaning the nation off of oil.  Unfortunately, Dave Reichert opposed them all.  Read on for the story of hypocrisy and how energy policy went wrong in 2005.

On July 29, 2006, Reichert put out a press release on the importance of increasing the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks:

Another piece of the solution is increased CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards. I'm supportive of efforts made by Science Committee Chairman Boehlert to reduce demand for oil from light-duty vehicles, which account for 40% of U.S. oil consumption. Boehlert's effort would direct the administration to save consumers money and cut projected oil demands from cars, SUVs, minivans and pickups by 10% starting in 2018. Initiatives such as this aren't the solution by themselves, but each is a portion of a larger plan to reduce our dependence on oil and to reduce the high cost of energy.

What Reichert doesn't say is that when the House debated the energy bill in 2005, Boehlert offered his proposal as an amendment on the House floor.  Reichert voted against it.  When he had his chance, he voted against it.  As the election approaches, he changes his tune and says he is a strong supporter of it. 

Reichert's hypocrisy would be funny if the consequences weren't so dire.  The energy bill Reichert backed became law over a year ago and our need for foreign oil is only going up.  The Bush Administration says we import 10 million barrels of crude per day now and the imports will only grow and grow.  In a couple decades we'll need 13 and ½ million barrels of imported oil every single day!

Here's another energy bill amendment that was debated on the House floor.

AMENDMENT DESCRIPTION:  Amendment sought to require appropriate Federal departments and agencies, as identified by the President, to propose voluntary, regulatory, and other actions sufficient to reduce demand for oil in the United States by at least 1.0 million barrels per day from the projected demand for oil in 2013.

Again, Reichert opposed the amendment.  Makes you wonder why he thinks increasing demand for oil is such a good idea.

To give you a sense of how out of the mainstream Reichert is on this issue, consider that the Senate passed a similar amendment and even the Republicans touted the "fuel-savings provision requiring the federal government devise a plan to save 1 million barrels of oil a day."

In fact, they didn't even bother to have a vote on the amendment in 2005, because in 2003, Sens. Landrieu and Specter offered the amendment and it passed 99-1.  That's right.  From crazy Republicans like Sen. Inhofe to liberals like Sen. Boxer, the amendment was broadly supported.  Arlen Specter even put out a press release on the amendment:

It is a first step, but it is very important for the United States that we reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Simply stated, we use too much foreign oil. We are dependent upon the OPEC countries, especially Saudi Arabia, and it influences our foreign policy in ways which may well be undesirable.

Why would Reichert oppose such a broadly supported and common-sense amendment to reduce the nation's demand for oil?  Could it be because Bush told the House Republicans to kill it?

After the Senate passed the energy bill, the White House weighed in:

the Administration strongly opposes the bill's requirement that the President implement measures to reduce U.S. petroleum demand by one-million barrels per day.

Sen. Cantwell and other Senators called on the House-Senate conferees to keep the Senate's oil savings provision in the bill when they worked out the differences between the House and Senate bills.  But with the White House and the Rubberstamp Republican House against them, the provision was dropped from the final bill.  The environmentalists tell us what happened:

"During the conference, the Senate lost almost all of its green provisions, including the renewable electricity standard, oil savings amendment and the real global warming provision," said Curtis [of the National Environmental Trust].

Reichert needs to explain his hypocrisy.  Why does he oppose reducing the nation's dependence on oil?  Why did he vote against trying to help the problem?  Was it because of President Bush or does he have another reason for wanting our nation's dependence on oil to grow and grow?

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 27, 2006 at 10:17 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Planet Earth: Running On Empty

The Earth's resources are now being utilized at a faster rate than they are being replaced and the rate of over-utilization is increasing rapidly.  The Living Planet Report released yesterday by the WWF and the Global Footprint Network says that humanity will be using twice as much as the planet can supply by 2050.

The diarist at DailyKos, boran2, has a post that points readers to the report (pdf) and details out a bit of what's in the report:

James Leape is director general of WWF International with 4,400 staff and offices in more than 100 countries.

"We have been exceeding the Earth's ability to support our lifestyles for the past 20 years, and we need to stop," he said. "We must balance our consumption with the natural world's capacity to regenerate and absorb our wastes. If we do not, we risk irreversible damage."

The push for a more sustainable lifestyle, starting with diminishing use of fossil fuels, more conservation and use of alternative fuels and sustainable agriculture is aimed at helping us rebalance our lifestyles.  We will be hearing a lot more about the need for this and about how to change our lives accordingly.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 27, 2006 at 09:44 AM in Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bowers Predicts big Democratic House Gain

Using national polls, Chris Bowers of MyDD projects a Democratic gain of 24-29 seats.  It is in the range of several other forecasts of Democratic gains by leading pollsters.  Democrats are up by about 15 points in the generic ballots.  Chris' post is here.

The trick is still going to be getting voters out to the polls.  Both the Burner campaign and the Cantwell campaign are asking for people on the ground for the GOTV effort this weekend.  Getting people out for Burner and Cantwell will also benefit Democrats down ticket.  If you have 4 hours, this will be time well spent.  I've been out about 4 times in the last two months and plan to be out again about 4 times before the election.  This is critical.  It's also fun. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 27, 2006 at 09:28 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 26, 2006

The Taliban Resurgence

Long before the attacks of 9/11 and the attack on Afghanistan, I had followed the difficulties of the Afghans and knew the country had not had much peace since 1973.  One of the greatest tolls of the Iraq war and occupation has been the unfinished business in Afghanistan.  And now, reports seem to show that the country is sinking into increasing violence again with a strong likelihood of a Taliban resurgence.

I expected to point readers immediately to this very long article in the NYT Magazine last Sunday by Elizabeth Rubin on the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan but then I got carried away with setting the story in the bigger picture of recent Afghan history.  It’s a great article if you wish to go directly there.  Otherwise come with me for a brief history of the last 35 years in Afghanistan and then head off to the article.

A Recent History of Violence

In 1973 King Zahir Shah was overthrown non-violently by his brother-in-law, Sardar Mohammed Daoud, after decades of stability  and some gentle westernization.  Then Daoud was overthrown in 1978 by the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan and his family was slaughtered.

Pretty much it’s been escalating violence ever since.  Conflict between parties.  Soviet intervention and occupation.  Then an escalating war between the Soviets and the Muslim mujahideen, funded by the US, with money and requests funneled through the ISI, the discontented Pakistani secret service agency.  Stray Arab nationalists, like the young Osama bin Laden, found their way to the Pakistani-Aghanistan border region and received training and arms from the CIA.  The 10-year effort ended in 1989 with the withdrawal of the Soviets. 

The US applauded and patted itself on the back for helping to fund the expensive war that helped bankrupt and break up the Soviet Union. Then, the Americans went home. 

The Conditions that led to the Rise of the Taliban

The mujahideen transformed into nasty warlords, first exacting a horrible retribution on the people in Kabul who had supported the Soviets and then establishing fiefdoms in various parts of the country.  They were corrupt; they fought; the Western educated and the elite left leaving a vacuum.   This vacuum was eventually filled by the Taliban, a rag-tag bunch of religiously conservative peasants from the Pashtun regions in the south.

The Taliban were disciplined and they brought stability to a land that longed for it.  The Taliban took over first in the countryside and then took Kabul in 1996.  They finished eradicating the communists and imposed strict Sharia law. They shut down the lucrative production of opium.   

Women

In times of turmoil, women do not do well.  Middle and upper class women in Kabul women had been able to go to school and hold jobs during the stable times of the Afghan state prior to the overthrow of the King.  In the years since, all that had been badly compromised.

That was nothing compared to what they had to deal with under the Taliban. Women were not allowed to work, had to be covered top to toe when they went out, faced severe violence for any infraction of the rules and couldn’t eat ice cream or get their hair done or much of anything else.  Women without husbands, and their were many widows after years of war, were destitute and unable to do anything about it except to beg.

During the seven years of Taliban rule, western nations tried to get Afghanistan to loosen up, particularly on women.  To no avail.  But then they didn’t try really hard either.

I remember thinking during that time that a foreign policy based on what is right for women would be a very good basis for a peaceful world.

Post 9/11

After the Afghan War and the dispersal of the Taliban in late 2001, Hamid Karzai was first appointed and then elected to the post of the President of Afghanistan. He either was unable or unwilling to reign in the warlords.  Most of them had helped the US or at least pretended to help the US.  Women again had more freedom and were able to walk about without their burkas on.  The country was relatively peaceful for a couple of years but the underlying problems of poverty and a decrepit infrastucture could not be addressed properly once the Iraq War took the attention and money of the US away from Afghanistan again.  The warlords, continue to rule in their various corners of the country.  The people struggle with the world’s largest number of unexploded landmines and other ordinance and a huge heroin trade that represents 30% of the economy.

And Now the Taliban Return to Power

There is significantly more violence in Afghanistan now than at any time since the Afghan War ended.  The 40,000 NATO and US troops are taking a pounding everywhere outside of Kabul and recently Kabul has been targeted as well.

Elizabeth Rubin, a journalist who has followed events and people in Afghanistan, has just written the first of a two-part article for the New York Times Magazine.  The second will be printed next Sunday.

The prospects for a Taliban-less Afghanistan are not good.  Rubin has traveled in the area and written about it earlier for the Times.  Traveling in western Pakistan and Afghanistan this year she found conditions quite changed.  The Taliban are able to organize quite openly in parts of Pakistan and enjoy increasing public support in southern Afghanistan, their earlier stronghold.  Videotapes are sold freely in the bazaars of Kabul showing American atrocities in Afghanistan (remember those mistakes where weddings were bombed?) and exhorting Afghanis to throw out the Americans as they threw out the Russians.

The Taliban are far more sophisticated than they were the first time around.  About those videotapes I mentioned above:

The films sold in the markets of Pakistan and Afghanistan merge the Taliban story with that of the larger struggle of the Muslim umma, the global community of Islam: images of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Israelis dragging off young Palestinian men and throwing off Palestinian mothers clinging to their sons. Humiliation. Oppression. Followed by the same on Afghan soil: Northern Alliance fighters perching their guns atop the bodies of dead Taliban. In the Taliban story, Special Forces soldiers desecrate the bodies of Taliban fighters by burning them, the Koran is desecrated in Guantánamo toilets, the Prophet Muhammad is desecrated in Danish cartoons and finally an apostate, Abdul Rahman, the Afghan who was arrested earlier this year for converting to Christianity, desecrates Islam and is not only not punished but is released and flown off to Italy.

The lack of security makes people nostalgic for the time of the Taliban.  As does the corruption and brutality of the warlords. And, the attempts at eradication of the poppy fields by the American and British forces.  That’s 30%, at a minimum, of the national GDP.

The Taliban, in contrast, are working with the poppy growers and smugglers this time around, using the money from the sale of heroin to fund their resurgence.

Now the Americans are leaving, entrusting the security of Afghanistan to NATO forces.  Rubin says:

Qayum Karzai, the president’s older brother and a legislator from Kandahar, seemed utterly depressed when I met him. “For the last four years, the Taliban were saying that the Americans will leave here,” he said. “We were stupid and didn’t believe it. Now they think it’s a victory that the Americans left.”

With the Americans on their way out and the NATO force not yet in control, the Kandahar Police were left on the front line: underfinanced, underequipped, untrained — and often stoned.

That’s stoned as in drugged.  I had to read it twice to get it.

Then, since the Taliban-backed smugglers have so much money and the Afghan government has so little, they are able to bribe Afghan government officials at every level and so are able to live quite freely.

Waiting Patiently to Return

After the dispersal of the Taliban when the Americans invaded, the Talib leaders began to prepare for their return.

Funds were raised through the wide and varied Islamic network — Karachi businessmen, Peshawar goldsmiths, Saudi oil men, Kuwaiti traders and jihadi sympathizers within the Pakistani military and intelligence ranks.

Mullah Omar named a 10-man leadership council, A. explained. Smaller councils were created for every province and district. Most of this was done from the safety of Pakistan, and in 2003 Mullah Omar dispatched Mullah Dadullah to the madrasas of Baluchistan and Karachi to gather the dispersed Talibs and find fresh recruits. Pakistani authorities were reportedly seen with him. Still, neither Musharraf nor his military men in Baluchistan did anything to arrest him.

Arabs have again come to help the jihadists.  In 2004, Iraqis, Palestinians, Saudis and others came to teach the Afghans about I.E.D.’s and suicide bombings. The Afghans are fast learners and don’t need that outside help for long.

Former Enemies Unite

Former competitors are coming together to fight the Karzai government and the Americans and NATO forces that support him.  Factions led by Mullah Omar’s council in Quetta, Pakistan; Jalaluddin Haqqani, a hero of the jihad against the Soviets; and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, another anti-Soviet fighter who has once been a strong ally of the Americans, all now consider themselves Taliban.  They are all fighting to rid the country of the Americans and between them, they have ties to all parts of Afghanistan.  They are formidable.

Pakistan

The Pakistanis are generally supportive of the Taliban, whatever the government says publicly.  Students from the hundreds of Pakistani madrasas often go directly to fight for the Taliban just as they did in the 90’s.

The Taliban generally don’t trust the ISI, which is most supportive of them.  They believe the Pakistanis want to have a client state in Afghanistan and hope to hold sway with a new Taliban government that is more pliable than the Karzai government.

Not looking Good

The future of Afghanistan is not looking good.  The Rubin article presents an organized picture of what is happening in the country.  We hear bits and pieces but generally Afghanistan is not being covered.  It’s possible it will be shortly if the implications written about in this article are borne out.

What a mess we’ve made of it. 


Posted by Lynn Allen on October 26, 2006 at 10:48 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Getting It Out There Early

Maybe it's being in a different generation so it's easier.  But it's refreshing to hear Barack Obama get this out there so it doesn't come out later.  From an article in the NYT:

“When I was a kid, I inhaled,” Mr. Obama said here to an audience of magazine editors. “That was the point.”

He followed it up afterwards about being a mixed-up teenager at the time, learning from it, etc.  Like the youngest kid in the family gets to watch and see how the strategies of the older kids don't work and come up with a much smoother strategy, so too did Obama get to see how Clinton and others handled that inevitable question.  I'm guessing this is the winning strategy.  It's a good omen for his future.

Hat tip to Howie.


Posted by Lynn Allen on October 26, 2006 at 09:14 AM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 25, 2006

Thanks to Norm Dicks

Congressman Norm Dicks of the 6th CD responded positively to the calls that folks made to ask him to contribute money from his campaign chest to Democrats running in more competitive districts.  He donated $100,000 + according to Chris Bowers, reporting back on his "Use It or Lose It" program.  This was on top of the nearly $600,000 that he raised yesterday for the DCCC from the lunch he hosted downtown for Al Gore.  Also today, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy each donated $500,000 to the DSCC.  This program is working.  We may not get the entire $15 million we are looking for but it will be close.

I feel like I and our readers here had an impact on Dicks' decision, along with a bunch of folks from MoveOn.org.  I called Dicks' Tacoma office on Friday afternoon and then wrote up a post asking others to do the same.  I repeated the plea yesterday.  Then I called the Tacoma office again today to ask them how it was going.  As soon as I called, they laughed and asked if I was calling about the program.  I said I was.  The man who answered the phone asked me if I knew that Dicks had already given a lot to candidates.  I told him I did and appreciated it.  He asked if I knew about the lunch yesterday and how much had been raised.  Yes.  I said that perhaps they might want to write to Chris Bowers and talk about getting credit for what they'd done.  I gave them Chris' email address and said I'd write about it as soon as I saw the results on Chris' list.

There it was a few hours later on both DailyKos and MyDD.  I have to assume that Chris talked the campaign into giving another $100,000.  Our thanks to Norm Dicks.  As Markos and Chris are saying, we will remember this.  Thanks. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 25, 2006 at 07:15 PM in Candidate Races, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (5)

20 Million Women Did Not Vote

In the 2004 election, 20 million eligible women voters did not vote.  Had they voted, John Kerry would have won.  Women almost always vote in far greater numbers for Democrats. 

The new organization, "Women's Voices, Women Vote" is aiming to get more women out to vote this year.  You may have seen their rather sexy video-clip of actresses talking about "their first time" already.  It's cool.  They have a set of about six video-clips available including this one that discusses the issues that impact woman voters, including health care, education, jobs, war, peace and the reasons they need to vote. Take a look and then send it to a woman you think might enjoy it or need it as a kick in the butt.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 25, 2006 at 10:38 AM in Media, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Right Tries to Reshape Washington Supreme Court

Noemie at Washblog has dug into the details about Supreme Court candidate Stephen Johnson and she finds a significant threat to the future of the State Supreme Court if Johnson is elected.   As is so often true for Noemie, she has thoroughly researched this and written a three part series that is a must-read for anyone still wondering about who to vote for in that election. 

Here's what she says in the latest of her posts on the subject, the one she titles, "Stephen Johnson and BIAW Team up to Reshape Washington's Supreme Court":

The Building Industry Association of Washington State (BIAW), a key funder for Stephen Johnson's campaign for Washington Supreme Court, indicates on the front page of its web site that it supports "revenge" and a "frontal assault" on Washington State's Supreme Court.

<snip>

A combination of an I-933 victory in November and the presence of even one more development-loyal judge on the Supreme Court, has a high likelihood of granting them an almost unbelievably valuable prize: a de facto repeal of many environmental and zoning restrictions on private land in Washington.  BIAW is looking to Stephen Johnson, who's voted their way 98% of the time over his entire career, to be their boy on the court.

Susan Owens may not be the most highly rated justice on the court but she is far better than what we would get if we wind up with Steve Johnson.  The voters of Washington State made the right choices in the September primary with their votes to retain Gerry Alexander and Tom Chambers.  We need to talk to people we know and make sure they vote to retain Owens this time.  The BIAW has thrown millions into this last race and it is likely to be very close.  Here are the links to her previous two posts on Johnson:

Religious Right groups omitted from Supreme Court candidate's campaign site

WA Supreme Court Candidate to 5th graders: "I'd get rid of all the Democrats"

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 25, 2006 at 10:21 AM in Candidate Races, Washington Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 24, 2006

And Goldy Hits it Out as Well


Goldy has a great graphic today. Says it all about Frank Blethen and the Seattle Times. Take a look.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 24, 2006 at 10:28 AM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Olbermann Hits it Out of the Park

The Republicans are doing the work of terrorising us on behalf of Al Qaeda. That's the case that Keith Olbermann makes in his latest "Special Comment". He defines terrorism and shows us the RNC's latest nation-wide ad. Olbermann is very angry. He's angry at Bush and the Republicans' incompetence and their destruction of our Constitution and our democracy. This video-clip wraps it all up.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 24, 2006 at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Use It Or Lose It

I'm re-posting this because I'd like to see more action on it. I posted this on Friday afternoon which made it not very actionable. Aside from being a creative way to raise needed money to push the pending Democratic wave over the massive Republican levees, this is an interesting adventure in letting our Democratic elected know that we - the netroots - think we are in a new ballgame.

Chris Bowers of MyDD and Markos of DailyKos have developed an innovative plan to raise money from Democratic Congresscritters who either have no Republican opposition or have only token opposition. Chris has created a page to let everyone know who those folks are, how to reach them and what we are asking of them - to give 30% of their campaign funds to Democratic challengers and/or party committees.

Here's what Chris says:

House Democrats as a whole do in fact have that money. According to the latest FEC reports, 69 Democratic House incumbents, each with more than $200,000 in their campaign accounts, are either facing no opposition for re-election, or are facing token Republican opposition that has failed to raise more than $10,000. Combined, these 69 incumbents have roughly $50,000,000 in their campaign bank accounts. If each of these 69 incumbents were to give 30% of their campaign funds either directly to competitive Democratic challengers and / or to the DCCC, that would make $15,000,000. Then, we would indeed have the money to fully target 60 Republican-held seats. This money is out there, and we are not using it. With so many campaigns in need of more money, it will be a tragedy if we do not use it now. This isn't about paying dues--this is about taking advantage of an exceptional opportunity that we may not have again for two decades.

In this state there is only one Congressman on this list, Norm Dicks in WA-06. So please call his office and politely explain why you are calling, explain the program and the reason for the program.

I just called Norm's Tacoma office (253-272-5884, DC number is 202.225.5916) ) and discussed the situation with the person who answered the phone. He said that Dicks was hosting fundraisers for Democratic challengers. I thanked him and said we're asking for more this year. We're asking for 30% of what they have in their coffers. In Dicks' case, 30% is $112,040 of the total of $373,466. I also asked him to get back to me with the answer. He said it was unlikely since they were quite busy.

I'm guessing that they may change their mind if 200 or 400 or 1000 of us called.

Tips for good calls

1. Be polite
2. Be prepared for pushback
3. Tell them this is an extraordinary situation because so many seats are in play
4. Tell them others have given more than 30%
5. Give them a way to contact you when they decide how much to pledge
6. Only call Representatives in your home state

I like Norm Dicks just fine. That's not the issue. The issue is that we are in a historical election and we are very close to victory and we need that $15 million.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 24, 2006 at 10:11 AM in Candidate Races, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

Republicans Don't Even Get Excited

The Republicans held a rally in downtown Bellevue yesterday - with Dino Rossi, Dave Reichert, Mike McGavick, John Thune (Republican Senator from South Dakota being touted as potential presidential material), Luke Eser and Larry Ishmael (who's he?) and all of about 175 people showed up and politely clapped. Coolaqua was there to do a little opposition research, Darcy Burner buttons on show, and he was under-whelmed.

He says:

The Republican crowd was friendly and cordial.  There were however a couple of elderly ladies holding a large McGavick sign standing in front of the Naral group.  The elderly ladies were calling the Naral group "baby killers", and I had to bite my tongue because I wanted to ask them what they thought about the 658,000 IRAQI civilians killed since we invaded IRAQ. 

One of the ladies noted my Darcy Burner button, and told me that Darcy was "stupid", and a "menace to society".  I wanted to bring up the fact that when the PI interviewed Reichert and Burner, that they said it was a little confusing for them, as the one with the grasp of all the issues was Darcy Burner, not Dave Reichert.
 
The event itself was uneventful, and cordial.  But it lacked any heat or passion.  The event seemed more of an obligatory formality rather than a rally. 

Seems about right. They don't really have much to be excited about this year, locally or nationally. They don't stand for much. Congress isn't actually doing any of the things they say they stand for - good government, fiscal responsibility, upholding moral standards. All they do is pass laws designed to help their wealthiest contributors. Not much for most people to get excited about.

P.S. If you don't already have Coolaqua on your favorites list, he/she deserves to be.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 24, 2006 at 09:50 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 23, 2006

Scientists and Engineers for America

There's a great new netroots organization starting up - Scientists and Engineers for America (SEA), a group of 5000 (at last count and growing quickly) folks whose vision is:

. . . a future where wise science and technology policy can help every American live in a safe and clean environment, enjoy quality health and education, and benefit from a strong system of national defense.  SEA is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to electing leaders who share this vision.

They believe in good government, open debate, competent leadership, and political participation. They also have a blog. A quick perusal of the blog confirms they are focused on bringing reality into public policy on such issues as stem cell research, Plan B, rational pollution standards and in general ensuring that public policy is based on sound science. What a concept!

I would guess that an organization like this would come to have a large NW component. Check it out.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 23, 2006 at 08:16 AM in Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 22, 2006

Darcy Round-up - Two Weeks Out

The PI endorsed Darcy for Congress both because they were very impressed with her but also because they decided that Reichert has been on the wrong side of votes on minimum wage, tax cuts, the ethics of Tom DeLay and the detention and trial of foreign detainees. The most telling thing they said:

Frankly, at a P-I Editorial Board session, it was difficult to tell who was the incumbent because her answers carried weight.

From how to balance the federal budget (and how urgent it is to do so) to how crucial it is to reduce human contributions to global climate change to Congress' role in Iraq war policy, Burner has the better grasp of the issues and the greater passion to deal with them.

The PI Endorsement more than offsets the nonsensical Seattle Times endorsement of Reichert last week, an endorsement which, like all their others in close races, attempts to bolster their tired attempt to eliminate the estate tax on multi-millionaires.

Then yesterday, McJoan, a front-pager at DailyKos, starts off a reporting swing through the West with a post on what it was like spending last Saturday with Darcy. She spent time doorbelling with Darcy in Auburn, blogged with her for awhile on DailyKos, and then ended up at a fundraiser for Darcy headlined by Congressman Jim McDermott and Ambassador Joe Wilson.

Like all of us who have spent time with Darcy, McJoan couldn't say enough wonderful things about her: she's funny, intelligent, warm, determined and knows how to focus on the right things. The part I really liked was her description of the reactions of the folks who answered their doors and spent time talking with Darcy:

At one house, an voter marked Independent on the campaign's walking list immediately recognized Darcy, and thanked her for coming out in the chill to his neighborhood. They chatted for a few minutes, him stumped by her asking if he had any questions for her. Apparently not too many people come to his neighborhood asking his opinion on things. He did know one, thing, he didn't like Reichert, so she had his vote. They chatted a bit, and she handed him her doorknocking lit, one side of which has a series of pictures of her opponent, Reichert, coming off of Air Force One arm in arm with Bush. "That's all the advertisment I need," the man said, pointing to one of the pictures. "Can you get rid of that guy, too?" "One step at a time," Darcy answered.
Another door opened to a very exuberant dog, which Darcy happily let jump on her nice suit. The woman who answered immediately hit upon one of the defining elements of Burner's campaign: "Your father and husband are vets, right?" When Darcy confirmed, the woman explained that her husband is a veteran. She and her husband are concerned about all the men and women coming back from Iraq to an already strained system of support for vets. She mentioned the long wait vets have for medical care, for appointments for other services. We moved on to another house, where Darcy spent about 10 minutes talking with a senior. He was undecided when she reached the door, but after talking about Iraq, about taxes, about education and Social Security, Darcy had won over another voter. "I always get them," she told. "When they take the time to talk to me, I always get them." It's not hard to believe, because Darcy has one of the most underrated traits in a pol--she listens. It sure worked on the front porches is this neighborhood.

Here's McJoan's closing remarks:

Burner does the Netroots list proud. She's taken our support and expanded it to a wide grassroots campaign. She's built an impressive campaign and has made this one of the top tier Congressional races this cycle. The race is neck and neck and the GOP is desperate to hold on. The NRCC has invested $2 milliion in this race.

That's how good Darcy Burner is.

Then there's the support that Darcy has garnered from the Boeing Engineering Union. Coolaqua has a post up that describes the strenuous process that the bipartisan union went through to develop questions, send out written questionnaires and then interview and rate the candidates. They did not make recommendations for specific races but they did rank all of the candidates they interviewed running for Congressional offices in Washington state.

Clear winners in the rankings were Darcy Burner #1, Rick Larsen #2, and tied for #3 were Peter Goldmark and Adam Smith. Darcy's scoring the number one position in this non-partisan ranking is a clear and unambiguous confirmation from working class Americans that she represents their values.

Meanwhile, Dave Reichert scored a 0 in this same ranking, by being so arrogant that he refused to even participate. What message does this send to Dave Reichert's Boeing constituents?

Dave Reichert's absence from the rankings is notable, especially since the Boeing Renton Plant is on his home turf of the 8th CD. Since Dave Reichert maintains a full congressional office in both Bellevue and Washington, it is hard to understand why neither he nor his staff felt they had the time to even fill out the written questionnaire provided to them by Speea-IFPTE.

And Dan Kirkdorffer discusses the latest forum between Darcy and Reichert, held at the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce along with a number of candidates from down-ticket races. Dan has notes on the entire forum and a video of the segment with Darcy and Reichert. Reichert talked about his years in the sheriff's office and in particular his years chasing the Green River Killer. Darcy talked about the choice that this race offers the voters in the 8th and about what she would do in Congress.

I talked about how Reichert blew off the AARP, much as coolaqua had discussed Reichert's blowing off 20,000 Boeing engineers, many of whom live in his district.

Lastly, Goldy pointed to a great video of Reichert talking at a conference in May when he thought he was speaking only to friends. He told the truth about how he votes. HE DOES WHAT HE IS TOLD. Sometimes the leadership requires him to vote with them. Sometimes they tell him to vote against them - at those times when 1) they don't need his vote and 2) it would be good PR to vote with his district. This is an astounding talk.

We have 15 days until the election, folks. This race is going to go down to the wire and the outcome will depend on voter turnout. We can impact the size of that turnout by volunteering for Darcy's campaign or contributing to it or both. This is a key race for us. We need to put in some sweat or equity or both if we want the right people in Congress in January.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 22, 2006 at 10:41 PM in Candidate Races, Media, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 21, 2006

Party-Building in Chelan County

Katy Warren, who identifies as a proud Democrat, wrote a piece for DailyKos today that she has kindly offered to cross-post here.   She talks about the revitalization of the Democrat Party in one of the reddest counties in Washington State and how critical Dean's 50-state strategy is.  Here's her post:

I live in Chelan County, which regularly elects 100% GOP office holders.  When I was growing up here, I remember knowing one normal Democrat (the mayor, whose position was non-partisan, so most voters weren't aware of his party affiliation) and being told about other strange, dangerous Democrats that we would never consider voting for because of their crazy unamerican political beliefs.  Needless to say, the local Democratic party kept a very low profile.  So low, in fact, that few knew it existed.

In other words, a county that has been effectively ignored by the Democratic party for decades.  And in some ways you can't blame them.  Even now we have no local Democratic candidates in this county, and our Democratic congressional candidate has not caught on with voters, donors, or national party organizations.

But things are changing here in Chelan County, for a couple of reasons.  George Bush can be thanked for alienating even historically committed Republicans, of course.  It's much easier these days to tell your friends that you are a Democrat, a move that would seriously have been unheard of five years ago.  In fact, one of the problems we have recruiting candidates for local races is a deep-seated unwillingness to "come out" as a Democrat, for fear that his or her business might be negatively impacted.  In the last year, since I've become a visible, active Democrat who can't stop talking about it, I've learned that several of my parents' lifelong friends are actually closet Democrats, only now willing to let other people know their deep dark secret.

Our County Chair's absolutely tireless work at building our local party has helped this process.  When people in town know there are other Democrats, they're more willing to let their Democratic flag fly freely.  I can't tell you how many times, while I was doorbelling for Kerry in 2004, I would come upon a house where the voter would tell me in a confidential tone that while they themselves would be voting Democrat, I had better be careful of the neighbors.  Everyone thought they were the only Democrat on their block.  It would be impossible to overstate the importance of dynamic local leadership in raising the profile of Democrats and making it OK to say you're a Democrat, even in the reddest of red counties.

Last but not least is the help we're getting from the Democratic Party.  In addition to the support and training that we've been getting, last month we got a real live staff member in our office, organizing our local Democrats for canvassing and making calls around the state to identify our voters and get them to the polls.

The result of all this activity is a revitalized Democratic Party with a legitimate chance of electing Democrats in the future, or at the very least providing less of a Democratic drain in statewide elections for Democratic candidates.  In the last two years we've tripled the size of our mailing list and have recruited and elected PCO's in twice as many precincts (more, in fact, than the Republican).  Democrats appear regularly on local call-in programs and get coverage in the local media.  In fact, at our Jefferson-Jackson Dinner last month (keynoted by Gov. Schweitzer!) we had an incredible 450 attendees and almost a full page of newspaper coverage for the event.  Two years ago, it was a struggle to get 150 people at such an event.

And more important than any of these things during this critical election season, we have volunteers.  I had a couple of hours free on Thursday afternoon so I headed down to the office (the very fact that we have an office is an amazing leap forward) and found seven people down there making calls, going through lists, and looking happily busy.  Seven might not seem so much to many of you, but this is a rural county with no viable Democratic candidates, yet all these people were working their asses off at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon.

Having paid Party staff, fabulous local leadership and a positive political climate have all led to the exponentially increased level of energy in our office, and although we won't necessarily be winning anything locally, we're helping other state candidates, getting the word out on our own Congressional candidate Richard Wright, and letting thousands of people in Central Washington that Democrats are  active and here to stay.  We're thinking long-term, laying the groundwork for a future Chelan County in which a healthy political debate is common and there are Democrats running, and winning, in every level of politics.

Gotta sign off, since I'm scheduled to pick up my canvassing list at 10 am - we're expecting lots of people this morning to volunteer.  Only three more weekends until the election!

Katy can be contacted via email or you can check out the website she's put up to share stories from travels she's taken.  Here post at DailyKos is here.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 21, 2006 at 09:06 PM in Inside Baseball | Permalink | Comments (0)

McGavick Campaign Winds Down

The McClatchy News Service is reporting this morning that McGavick will get no money from the Republican National Committee or the NSCC to air ads in the final two weeks of the campaign.  Just as they have quit trying to prop up incumbent Republican Senators Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania or Mike DeWine in Ohio, so too they are giving up on challenger Mike McGavick here. 

The national Republican strategy for holding onto the Senate is to try to build a "firewall" along the Mason-Dixon line.  The Republicans are pouring their money into Missouri to support Senator Jim Talent, into Tennessee to support Bob Corker in the seat left open by Senator Bill Frist's leaving to run for President (Ha!) and into Virginia to support Senator George Allen.  All of these men are in very tight races.  Mike McGavick is not.  He is consistently 9-10 points behind in the polls against Maria and those numbers are not moving.  Here's the article, from the PI.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 21, 2006 at 09:18 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Olbermann on Being Afraid of the Wrong Thing

Whew!  Keith Olbermann just keeps speaking the truth, using his podium to hold a mirror up to this society.  He doesn't let go and for that we ought to be very grateful.  But, as my sister says, "Does this guy have a bodyguard?"

This video-clip of another one of his Special Comments details the times in our history when we've used war as an excuse to move down the path of destroying our democracy from within.  He puts Bush's signing of the bill to allow torture and to allow the suspension of Habeas Corpus in some situtations in the context of similar, foolish actions by Presidents in the past.  Powerful.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 21, 2006 at 08:26 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Reichert Blows Off the AARP

The AARP, one of the largest citizen organizations in the country, sent out questionnaires to candidates around the country and then made their responses known on their website.  The AARP is very interested naturally in the different candidates' positions on issues of interest to people either retired or nearing retirement.   

Darcy Burner's positions on all the questions posed lined up quite closely with the AARP positions.  Darcy was thorough and articulate in her responses.  As for Dave Reichert - Well, we don't know.  He didn't bother to respond.  If I were an AARP member or were addressing the needs of older family members, I would be concerned with this lack of concern on Reichert's part.   

There were about a dozen questions.  Here's one that popped out at me.

Question: Will you support or oppose allowing Medicare to use its bargaining power to negotiate lower prices for needed prescription drugs? Will you support or oppose imposing an annual limit on federal Medicare spending?

AARP Response:  Medicare Part D is now helping millions of people in Medicare save money on their prescription drugs. But while those with Part D coverage are saving, the actual cost of prescription drugs continues to increase at a rate greater than general inflation. AARP believes that more must be done to bring down soaring drug costs and supports allowing Medicare to use its bargaining power to negotiate lower prescription drugs.

Proposals have been made in Congress to put an annual limit on how much money the federal government spends on the Medicare program. AARP opposes arbitrary limits on Medicare funding.

Candidate Response: Darcy Burner, Democrat:  While it has reduced drug costs for many participants, taken overall, the Medicare Part D program is a disaster. It is too confusing, too expensive, too punitive for late subscribers, and it contains intolerable coverage gaps for some (the infamous "donut hole"). All of these problems must be corrected quickly, for the benefit of both users and taxpayers. The most logical first step is to allow Medicare to use its collective purchasing power to negotiate with manufacturers for more favorable pricing. This is just good business sense. I strongly oppose arbitrary spending limits on Medicare spending; such limits are unfair and unnecessary. Our focust must be on making this program far more efficient and weeeding out waste to drive down costs.

Candidate Response: Dave Reichert, Republican: Candidate did not respond to AARP questionnaire.

And it goes on like that.  No response to questions about Social Security Reform or covering Long-term Care.  No response to questions of how to increase the number of folks covered by health care insurance.  None. 

I bet anything that Reichert responds when the National Association of Manufacturers sends out their questionnaire or the US Chamber of Commerce sends out theirs.  But not the AARP.  Take note.

Hat tip to shoephone.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 21, 2006 at 08:14 AM in Candidate Races, Policy | Permalink | Comments (2)

October 20, 2006

Use It Or Lose It

Chris Bowers of MyDD, with support from Markos, has developed an innovative plan to raise money from Democratic Congresscritters who either have no Republican opposition or have only token opposition.  Chris has created a page to let everyone know who those folks are, how to reach them and what we are asking of them - to give 30% of their campaign funds to Democratic challengers and/or party committees.

Here's what Chris says:

House Democrats as a whole do in fact have that money. According to the latest FEC reports, 69 Democratic House incumbents, each with more than $200,000 in their campaign accounts, are either facing no opposition for re-election, or are facing token Republican opposition that has failed to raise more than $10,000. Combined, these 69 incumbents have roughly $50,000,000 in their campaign bank accounts. If each of these 69 incumbents were to give 30% of their campaign funds either directly to competitive Democratic challengers and / or to the DCCC, that would make $15,000,000. Then, we would indeed have the money to fully target 60 Republican-held seats. This money is out there, and we are not using it. With so many campaigns in need of more money, it will be a tragedy if we do not use it now. This isn't about paying dues--this is about taking advantage of an exceptional opportunity that we may not have again for two decades.

In this state there is only one Congressman on this list, Norm Dicks in WA-06.  So please call his office and politely explain why you are calling, explain the program and the reason for the program. 

I just called Norm's Tacoma office (253-272-5884, DC number is 202.225.5916) ) and discussed the situation with the person who answered the phone.  He said that Dicks was hosting fundraisers for Democratic challengers.  I thanked him and said we're asking for more this year.  We're asking for 30% of what they have in their coffers.  In Dicks' case, 30% is $112,040 of the total of $373,466.  I also asked him to get back to me with the answer.  He said it was unlikely since they were quite busy. 

I'm guessing that they may change their mind if 200 or 400 or 1000 of us call.

Tips for good calls

1. Be polite                
2. Be prepared for pushback                
3. Tell them this is an extraordinary situation because so many seats are in play
4. Tell them others have given more than 30%            
5. Give them a way to contact you when they decide how much to pledge
6. Only call Representatives in your home state            

I like Norm Dicks just fine.  That's not the issue.  The issue is that we are in a historical election and we are very close to victory and we need that $15 million, $112,000 of which is in his hands.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 20, 2006 at 01:09 PM in Best Practices, Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

Natasha Has Another Kick-ass Interview with Darcy

Natasha has a great interview up with Darcy Burner at both at DailyKos and her home blog, Pacific Views.  Here's just one of many questions and Darcy's answer to it:

Q: The New York Times reported today on a U.N. coordinated scientific report that predicts dramatic increases in the need for water around the world, and we're facing droughts here in the U.S. as the rest of the world is facing droughts. Have you looked into this issue? Because people are talking more and more about this issue, when I was in Costa Rica, it was on the news down there, how people are concerned that there will be wars over water in the not-too-distant future.

DB: Well I went to see Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, which I highly recommend. But that was one of the issues that he talked about. That the shift that we're seeing is changing where water is, it's changing the rainfall patterns, it's changing glacier melt, it's changing the water picture very dramatically, the atmospheric changes that we're talking about when we talk about global warming. Or, as some of my friends locally like to call it, catastrophic climate disruption, because global warming makes it sound like, well maybe we'll all be sitting out on a beach in Tahiti, which isn't the image we want to convey.

But water's going to be a huge issue. It's already a huge issue in this country. If you look at the fights over the Colorado River, water is already a big issue here and it's a much bigger issue in other parts of the world. We're relatively fortunate in this country. It's clear we're going to have to address it. We're going to have massive dislocation of people, refugees. Hundreds of thousands, millions, of refugees. Because changes in water patterns, change which parts of the world are inhabitable by people and we're going to have to deal with it.

I'm a tech person, so my response to problems like that is to want to innovate new solutions. Let's come up with better technologies for water purification, let's come up with better ways to conserve water, let's come up with better technologies for water desalinization. Let's come up with better ways of transporting water, more efficiently and more effectively. If we did that and we made some infrastructure investments, and we address the problem of climate change, we could head off, or cope with, many of the problems we're talking about. But it's a big thing, not a little thing. It's not a thing that will get done unless we really focus on it. We've got to decide it's a priority.

In the comments section of the DailyKos interview post, someone asked, "Does Darcy really speak in full paragraphs?" She does, I responded.  She's smart and well read and she goes to see important, educational movies.  Wouldn't that be nice in a representative from WA-08?

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 20, 2006 at 09:07 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dan Digs Into the Latest Numbers on Burner-Reichert Race

The lastest SurveyUSA poll has Reichert with a slight edge over Darcy (50-47%) amongst likely voters.  Dan over at On the Road to 2008 digs into the details.  It is very interesting - at least for us wonky types. It also offers some considerable hope.  Although the overall numbers have remained quite consistent, the specifics have changes wildly, meaning the voters are susceptible to persuasion in both directions.  Dan looks at the trends from the Aug. 24th, Sept. 7th and Oct. 18th polls. 

While Burner has only made marginal gains with male voters (+3%), she continues to make strides with women, going from -6% to +9% to +13%, a +19% swing over the three polls. While Republican support of Reichert has little changed (+2%), Burner has solidified her support from Democrats, from 79%-14% in support, to 86%-12%, to 88%-9%, a +14% gain.

In addition Burner has vastly improved her sway with independent voters. She was down -13% in August, -5% in September, and is now up +10%, a +23% swing. Isn't Dave Reichert supposed to be an independent? Guess that independent voters aren't seeing it that way.

Reichert enjoyed 98% support from conservatives in September, up from 85% in August, but that number has lowered to 88%. Meanwhile Burner stays strong with moderates (isn't Dave Reichert supposed to be a moderate too?) a +13% lead and gain since August, and with liberals, gaining +25% from the first poll to the last.

SurveyUSA points out that the affluent voters (making > $80K) have moved toward Reichert in the most recent poll, which given Reichert's attack ads on taxes is not a surprise. Burner also loses ground (-7%) with college educated voters. However, she picks up +8% with the no-college crowd.

This tells me that the campaign needs to micro-target specific voters, all of which this very sharp campaign is likely doing.   That requires volunteers.  I have already called the campaign and given them three days of my time in the next 2.5 weeks.  This is doable folks and necessary if we are going to win.  Oh, and, contribute as well.  As Dan says, "this may be one of the closest races in the country this year, and a critical one in deciding whether Congress will have a change in overall leadership. Your help could make the difference."

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 20, 2006 at 08:33 AM in Candidate Races, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 19, 2006

Goldy Dissects the Reichert Con-Job

Goldy has a nice post up on Dave Reichert's discussions of how he does what the Republican leaders want, including voting moderately, since they know when he needs to do that too.   Goldy's entire piece is quite telling.  Here's a clip that captures what Reichert says when he thinks he's with his backers only.  It's outrageous, though just what we've suspected for years.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 19, 2006 at 10:31 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cheney Forced to Turn Over Visitor Logs?

This would be an interesting turn of events, especially at such a critical time.  Editor and Publisher, among others, is reporting that a federal judge, Ricardo Urbina, ruled Wednesday that the Bush Administration had to release information about who visited Dick Cheney's office and home.  Cheney and the Bush Administration have consistently fought the requests and refused to release the records.

The Washington Post asked for two years of White House visitor logs in June but the Secret Service refused to process the request. Government attorneys called it "a fishing expedition into the most sensitive details of the vice presidency."

< snip>

A lawsuit over similar records revealed last month that Republican activists Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, key figures in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal landed more than 100 meetings inside the Bush White House.

This could be interesting although it still isn't the information about who attended the meetings with Cheney while he was writing the energy legislation in the first year.  With luck, having gotten away with so much for so many years will have made them careless and we'll see who they really talk to and listen to.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 19, 2006 at 10:00 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mayor Nickels and Eminent Domain in Ranier Valley

This is an excellent editorial in the PI today that I recommend everyone read on Seattle's Ranier Valley Eminent Domain plan:

Last resort simply means if you're unwilling to sell, you're gone. Just as misleading, the city emphasizes the below-average incomes and above-average poverty and crime rates that exist in Rainier Valley to justify eminent domain. But that's a smoke screen because those problems have absolutely nothing to do with many of the properties the city wants to demolish. Moreover, the city has legitimate tools for dealing with crime and poverty. It can increase police presence or fund neighborhood watch programs. It can offer tax credits for small businesses.

I'd heard nothing about this. I assume Mayor "I never met a developer I wouldn't kiss" Nickels is likely behind it. There's a cold place in hell - under his hoped for but will never be built tunnel - for this kind of crap.

And of course I933 does nothing to stop this kind of Eminent Domain - so vote no on 933.

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Posted by Jeff on October 19, 2006 at 09:55 PM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Out Come the Long Knives

The national Republicans are getting ready to cut each other to shreds.  Or that's what the NYT is saying in an article today by David Kirkpatrick. 

Tax-cutters are calling evangelicals bullies. Christian conservatives say Republicans in Congress have let them down. Hawks say President Bush is bungling the war in Iraq. And many conservatives blame Representative Mark Foley’s sexual messages to teenage pages.

My favorite is from former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who had that post when Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House.  Ug.  Makes me shiver with the memory of it.  Nevertheless, I like the quote and the thinking:

In recent weeks, Mr. Armey has stepped up a public campaign against the influence of Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and an influential voice among evangelical protestants. In an interview published last month in “The Elephant in the Room,” a book by Ryan Sager about splits among conservatives, Mr. Armey accused Congressional Republicans of “blatant pandering to James Dobson” and “his gang of thugs,” whom Mr. Armey called “real nasty bullies” — arguments he reprised on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and in an open letter on the Web site organization FreedomWorks.

In an interview this week, Mr. Armey said catering to Dr. Dobson and his allies had led the party to abandon budget-cutting. And he said Christian conservatives could cost Republicans seats around the country, especially in Ohio.

“The Republicans are talking about things like gay marriage and so forth, and the Democrats are talking about the things people care about, like how do I pay my bills?” he said.

And true to form, Dr. Dobson fired back in a message that went out to his supporters:

In a recent newsletter from Dr. Dobson’s organization, Representative Mark Souder, an Indiana Republican counting on Christian conservatives to turn out for his re-election, called Mr. Armey’s comments “disgusting” and insulting to “the many Christians around the United States who devoutly hold conservative moral beliefs.”

And on the Iraq War front:

Many blame neoconservatives who argued most vocally for the invasion of Iraq. “The principal sin of the neoconservatives is overbearing arrogance,” Mr. Keene said. Neoconservatives, in turn, blamed Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s insistence on holding down troop levels for the fouling up of the war.

They are perhaps finally understanding that it is likely to be over for them pretty soon.  That sense of hubris that convinced them it was okay to waste taxpayers dollars on a senseless, brutal war that will damage this country for a generation or two is leading to their undoing. That sense of entitlement that caused them to rob the treasury to line the pockets of themselves and their friends is catching up with them.  The hypocrisy that enables them to hire gay staff and even, occasionally have gay sex, but vote for harshly, needless laws restricting the lives of gay and lesbian people in this country is fueling the splits in so many ways.   The recklessness that caused them to look the other way when some of theirs were damaging young people entrusted to their collective care, because they didn't want to expose their hypocrisy or lose seats in Congress, is leading, likely, cross my fingers, to their imminent collapse.

And, don't give up for a minute.  Keep working.  Keep donating.  This is so very important. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 19, 2006 at 09:39 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 18, 2006

Idaho Politics Getting Interesting

Respected pollster Charlie Cook has upgraded both the ID-01 race and the governor's contest from "Likely Republican" to "Lean Republican".  That's pretty close to "Toss-up" says our Idaho blogging friend, Julie, of Red State Rebels.  She reminds us that Idaho voted nearly 70% for George W. Bush two years ago.  That both these races are so close is huge.

And Cook's polling was completed before the implications of a potential scandal in Idaho as the news of the "outing" of U.S. Senator Larry Craig (R-Natch) begins to roll around the state.  The outing is coming as a result of of the hypocrisy inherent in this combination: "certain testimony from gay lovers" and a "0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign".

Michael Hood over at Blatherwatch has the details, along with a whole lotta other folks.  Michael ends his post with this plaintive question: "With all these gay R's now out in open, do you suppose we can have a real national discussion about gay rights, and gay marriage?"

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 18, 2006 at 10:32 PM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

I Like These Guys

Tester and Schweitzer goofing off as they work to get Tester elected in place of the very corrupt, very clueless Conrad Burns.  Take a look.


Posted by Lynn Allen on October 18, 2006 at 09:28 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Science 1, Reichert 0

A few weeks ago, the Seattle Times reported on Dave Reichert's uncertainty about the existence of global warming.  They say:

Reichert said global warming is a "possibility" but views the science with the same sense of skepticism he held as a homicide detective for the King County Sheriff's Office.

A possibility?  Hey, dude!  Get a clue.   Reichert waffled a couple times after he was challenged on the above statement.  I don't care.  He doesn't get it.  Our representatives are going to have to make some big changes in the way we respond to global warming and fast.  We don't have time to put these guys through a 7th grade science class again. 

A week ago, DailyKos diarist, Jerome A Paris, our DailyKos expert on energy, pointed us to this:

Philip Stephens is the senior political editor of the Financial Times, the main European business paper. He appears to be extremely well connected to the current British government, and I usually see him as the "voice of the establishment" in the paper. He writes about British and European politics, as well as about big topics in the news.

In today's paper, he has an absolutely must-read column about global warming. As the column is behind the subscriber wall, I'll just quote the most important parts with my comments below. One quick quote to tempt you/

Save for the flat-earthers in George W. Bush's White House and their friends in the Exxon Mobil oil corporation, the science of the greenhouse effect is incontrovertible.

I immediately thought of Dave Reichert. 

Stephens goes on:

Global warming is different. It should change everything.

<snip>

Politicians have been slower than their citizens to understand the connections.

Our new Democratic-controlled Congress has a few things to do very quickly after 6 years of disastrous governing at the national level: figuring out how to get out of Iraq and then what to do with the mess we've created there.  We have to raise the minimum wage and implement the 9/11 recommendations.  And talk to people in the rest of the world and ask forgiveness for our wretched behavior this last six years.  And do some Lessons Learned exercises about how we got into this position in the first place and how not to do it again.  (I used to wonder how we, arrogant Americans that we are, were going to have our version of a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission".  I think we're going to call it Lessons Learned.)

Then we have to tackle global warming from as many angles as we can and we need to have people there who understand the basic science and will listen to the folks who've been working on the problem and the solutions while the federal government has been diddling around. 

As Darryl says about Reichert:

Who the hell put this idiot on the House Science and Technology Committee? His anti-science stance makes him unqualified for the committee. His willingness to accept Bush’s opinion over the collective wisdom of researchers in climatology and paleoclimatology make Reichert unqualified to hold a congressional seat.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 18, 2006 at 09:22 PM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

A Profile of Nancy Pelosi

Hilary Rosen has a profile of Nancy Pelosi, our soon-to-be-Speaker of the House. It's a nice look at the person behind the politics. I lived in San Francisco and the Bay Area for years, met Nancy Pelosi several times and attended fundraisers at her house, which she graciously loaned out to sympatico organizations for that use.

And I learned a lot from the article. My favorite phrase was the suggestion that Pelosi "will bear a huge responsibility for restoring the optimism of a divided nation." Just the phrase is a lovely reminder of what comes after this so-far-very-hopeful-looking election. If you haven't seen it before, the piece, up over on Huffington Post, also lists out what Pelosi says she will pass in the first 100 hours of Democratic control of the House.

Worth fighting for. Remember to put some coin toward Darcy and Peter to help out.

Hat Tip to Howie

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 18, 2006 at 08:07 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (5)

The WAPO Endorses Webb

Saying that James Webb has run an independent-minded challenge, the Washington Post today endorsed Democrat James Webb. The WAPO is the local paper for northern Virginians. They begin by clarifying why they aren't endorsing Allen.

Quite simply, he is a mediocre senator whose six years of undistinguished service do not justify rehiring.

Mr. Allen lacks any comparable independent-mindedness. He has spent his time in the Senate in lock step with the Bush administration, embracing tax cuts that have imperiled the nation's fiscal health; subsidies for oil and gas companies that hardly needed the help; prisoner detention policies that have undercut America's image abroad; and restrictions on embryonic stem cell research despite its medical potential.

At the same time, Mr. Allen has accomplished little for his state's most dynamic region, Northern Virginia. Other Republican members of Virginia's congressional delegation -- Sen. John W. Warner and Reps. Thomas M. Davis III and Frank R. Wolf -- have played vital roles in advancing transit and other priorities while Mr. Allen was busy grooming himself for a possible 2008 presidential race.

They discuss why are supporting Webb:

His opponent -- former Navy secretary, former assistant defense secretary, former Marine Corps officer and former Republican -- is admirably independent-minded. He was prescient in warning, back in 2002, that the war in Iraq risked stranding the United States in a long-term occupation without an exit strategy. An intelligent man with a record of integrity, he has resisted the packaging of political consultants, which can only be a good thing. Those assets, as well as his deep familiarity with military and national security affairs, offer the promise that he would make an able, if unorthodox, U.S. senator. And the fact that his youngest son is deployed as a marine in Iraq gives him a perspective that is rare in today's Congress.

Mr. Webb, a fine writer, remains in many ways a political work in progress. His impressionistic grasp of domestic policy generally and his passing acquaintance with Virginia issues in particular reflect his meager experience in electoral politics. His diagnosis of America's widening disparities in wealth and income is on the mark, but his fuzzy-headed attacks on free trade are the wrong prescription. As a candidate, Mr. Webb has had a steep learning curve; to his credit, he has acknowledged it.

This may be what it takes to put Webb over the top. Yeah!

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 18, 2006 at 07:22 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hilarious - Colbert Cooking w/Feminists

Jane Fonda, Stephen Colbert and Gloria Steinem play together in an outrageously funny video-clip from his show. Honestly, if you need a laugh this morning, this is it. They are discussing the new radio network for women that Fonda and Steinem are starting but they wander through making a pie, having an ice-cream 3-way, and more.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 18, 2006 at 06:52 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 17, 2006

DCCC Buying Ads for Goldmark

In a sign that the Republicans are really in trouble nationally, the DCCC has begun putting money into the Goldmark campaign. WA-05 was supposed to be safe for Cathy McMorris but the internal polls are showing Goldmark closing against McMorris. The money the DCCC is putting in will even the playing field and make it more likely that Goldmark will win this race. Goldy has the story.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 17, 2006 at 06:17 PM in Candidate Races, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (3)

October 16, 2006

McGavick Shaving the Truth Again?

Senator John Warner of Virginia quickly disavowed the report of the contents of a conversation that Mike McGavick reported having with him recently. Dave Ammons, writing for the AP, reports that Senator Warner took issue with McGavick's implication that he, Warner, agreed with McGavick about the administration's handling of the war.

In what seems like an obvious attempt to move closer to the Washington state electorate's position on the war in Iraq, McGavick told the AP that "things are not getting better in Iraq and a course correction is needed". McGavick called today for replacing Rumsfeld and creating a bipartisan panel to propose new directions for the war in Iraq. Well and good. Almost all of us would agree, although most of us are not Johnnie-come-latelys to this position. But McGavick seemed to feel the need to try to ally himself with the national Republicans who are perceived to be the most independent Republican thinkers on the war - Senators John Warner and Chuck Hagel. Trouble is, Warner didn't remember the conversation in quite the same way as McGavick implied. As Ammons writes:

But Warner quickly distanced himself from McGavick's proposal.

"In our conversation, I shared with Mr. McGavick my views on the challenges that remain in Iraq," Warner said in a statement released by his Senate office. "I did not expand my views beyond the parameters of my prior public comments on the issue.

"Secretary Rumsfeld did not come up in any way in our conversation."

Five weeks ago, Goldy discussed the real implications of McGavick's less than fully truthful report of the DUI he received in Maryland in 1993 and said: "what Mike?™ wants is for the media to report on the moral of his stories while ignoring the details". With the addition of this incident of differing reports of an important discussion, I have to wonder if we might have a pattern of careless communications in situations where it truly matters. Not a character trait we really want in a person who would like to be our Senator.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 16, 2006 at 10:23 PM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Joe Wilson Speaks at a Burner Event

Local Dailykos diarist dgb attended a fundraiser for Darcy Burner on Saturday and wrote about it later over at DailyKos. Joe Wilson was the headliner and dgb was quite impressed. Here's an exerpt:

He gave a lot of interesting anecdotes. Somewhat recently he debated Bill Kristol (right wing pundit) and he asked Kristol if he had ever been to the Middle East. Kristol said it was an asset that he had never been there. It was clear that Wilson has a particular disdain for the neocons, because they want to turn the United States into an empire and are so blinded by ideology that they cannot be bothered with facts. He jokes that he carries wooden stakes around with him so if he meets a neocon, he can drive a stake through his heart.

Wilson talked about the times he had met Saddam. He said Saddam had a particular way of standing when you were meeting him that made it appear on camera that you were bowing to him when you shook his hand. Saddam would stand closer than normal and put his hand down very low. So the tendency is to look down to find his hand and the camera would catch you with your head down, "bowing" to Saddam. So the last time Wilson saw Saddam, he was determined not to bow down. This was after Saddam had invaded Kuwait and the Americans were leaving Baghdad. When Saddam put his hand down low as he did, Wilson stared directly at him and groped, successfully, for his hand to shake. A while later, back in the States Wilson was talking with Tom Foley (our illustrious former Washington congressman from WA-05 and House Speaker until 1994), with whom he had worked in Congress, and Foley said (paraphrasing from my memory), "You mean we had to send all of those troops over there when you could have had Saddam by the balls?"

The diary has more stories as well as Joe's plea that we take back control of Congress so we can hold this particular brand of Republicans accountable for their threats to the Constitution. Nice read. And, of course, a good time to remind you to volunteer for and/or send money to Darcy so we can hold up our end here in Washington state.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 16, 2006 at 12:58 PM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Andy Stern at the Montlake Ale House Tonight

The SEIU President will be at the Montlake Ale House tonight from 5:30pm until 7pm, 2307 24th Ave. E. for a special off-schedule Drinking Liberally that we are calling Reading Liberally. Stern is in Seattle to promote his new book, "A Country That Works."

David Postman has a nice back-grounder on Stern, one of the most influential labor leaders in decades. Here's what Postman says about the book:

The book is Stern's take on what's wrong with America and what to do about it. Since becoming president of Service Employees International Union he has turned the SEIU into a major union and a political force. In Washington state, SEIU membership has gone from 5,000 to more than 100,000.

A couple of things jumped out at me in the book. Stern is tough on Democrats as well as Republicans. He criticizes the Republican Party for what he thinks is a wrong-headed ideology, and the Democrats for not offering much of an alternative. He also speaks political heresy, and questions politicians' focus on education and high-tech jobs as the American panacea.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 16, 2006 at 12:41 PM in Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 15, 2006

Video-Clips of the Burner-Reichert Debate

Dan has some nice clips up of the TVW video of the debate in Bellevue last Tuesday up at On the Road to 2008.  For those of us who didn't make the debate, it's great to see it.  I listened to the KUOW audio of the debate on Wednesday but it is not the same.  You don't get the sense of the two candidates in the same way.  Darcy is genuinely formidable while Reichert is mildly charming and generally clueless.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 15, 2006 at 11:37 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rocky Anderson for VP in 2008

McCranium had a YouTube video-clip up up a few days ago of mayor Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City talking about what real patriotism is.  This video is a clip of a rousing talk he gave at a protest in Salt Lake City in August when Bush was in town to speak at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 15, 2006 at 09:41 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Secret Service Goes After 14-Year Old Girl

The chilling news that the Secret Service pulled a 14-year old girl from class to grill her about something she put on MySpace ought to put all journalists and bloggers on notice.  We are being watched!  Julia Wilson was frustrated with President Bush and said so.   According to the AP:

She posted a picture of the president, scrawled "Kill Bush" across the top and drew a dagger stabbing his outstretched hand. She later replaced her page on the social-networking site after learning in her eighth-grade history class that such threats are a federal offense.

Too late.  Two Secret Service agents pulled her out of her molecular biology class on Wednesday and questioned her for 15 minutes, causing her to cry.

Julia Wilson said the agents threatened her by saying she could be sent to juvenile hall for making the threat.

"They yelled at me a lot," she said. "They were unnecessarily mean."

And, did they manage to put the chill on Julia?  Hardly.  Julia plans to put up a new MySpace page, this one devoted to organizing other students to protest the Iraq war. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 15, 2006 at 09:18 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Debate between Burner and Reichert this Morning

A KING-5 debate between Dave Reichert and Darcy Burner will air this morning at 9:30 a.m. on "Upfront with Robert Mak".  Apparently Dave Reichert shows quite a temper.  Worth a watch!

Maybe the Seattle Times should have waited to endorse until they'd seen this.  Their endorsement of Reichert is absolute nonsense. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 15, 2006 at 08:18 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (5)

October 14, 2006

ActionStudio eAdvocacy Launches Web Services Option

A little more self-promotion: ActionStudio, my electronic advocacy service, now offers the ability for you to send emails and faxes to elected officials via a Web Service. So, instead of using our petition forms, you can now use SOAP or our sample PHP class to send data right from your organization's Web site. This gives nonprofits with some programming expertise more flexibility in presenting petitions and collecting and processing data.

Learn more

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Posted by Jeff on October 14, 2006 at 01:52 PM in Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

Goldmark Campaign Hits McMorris Hard

The Goldmark campaign has a hard hitting ad up called "The Purse".  The name becomes very clear very quickly. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 14, 2006 at 09:50 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 13, 2006

Category 5 Hurricane Heading for House

Respected pollster Charlie Cook says the Republicans are likely to lose 30 seats in the House and the number may be even higher.  He starts with the obvious disclaimer that the election is still 25 days away and there is no way to know that conditions won't change between now and November 7th.  Cook says this is without question the worst political situation for the Republicans since the 1974 post-Watergate elections.  Here's the advice he gives the Democrats:

On a conference call today, James Carville suggested that the Democratic Party should expand beyond just the top targeted races.  He believes the party should help fund previously ignored Democratic challengers in second- and third-tier districts--the next 30 to 50 Republican-held seats--to fully capitalize on this environment and help those candidates maximize their chances of winning. Carville went as far as to suggest Democrats go to the bank and borrow $5 million. If I were them, I'd make it $10 million and put $500,000 each of these 20 districts.

Keep working.  Keep donating.  We have no way of knowing whether the Republicans will pull something out of their hat or something will come up that none of us have any control over.  Doesn't it seem like it's time for another bin Laden tape? 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 13, 2006 at 11:06 PM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Talking to Bush

This ad, put up by some folks calling themselves the September Fund, is outrageously good.  Take a look.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 13, 2006 at 09:33 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cardboard Cathy

A post  at "Down with Tyranny", Howie Klein's blog, researched and written by AB and put in context by Howie, has made me quite sad.  The piece describes some of Cathy McMorris' life - her family and what they did, her schooling at a wildly conservative Christian school, her immersion in the family business of politics in Washington State and then her direct inclusion in Republican leadership in Washington D.C.  It talks extensively about McMorris' role in helping to cover up two GOP pedophile scandals, one in Washington State, the other in the House of Representatives.

Through it we see that McMorris doesn't seem to stand for anything; there is no issue that she fights for because she has lived with the consequences, like a need for special needs for children with a disability or an awareness of transportation needs.  No thing in particular seems to matter for her.  She has pretty much stood for whatever the men around her have stood for.  That is what made me sad.  She hasn't ever been on her own. 

She spent her last two years of High School in an all-white Christian school, then went to an unaccredited Christian bible college and then to Pensacola Christian College in Florida.  Here's AB's description of PCC:

PCC denounces Bob Jones University as too squishy.  PCC is for real Christians. Christians who don't smoke, don't drink, don't dance, don't listen to most music, don't watch most tv, don't use the Internet, don't see movies, and don't touch each other on pain of immediate expulsion.

So she really didn't get much of a formal education outside of an Executive MBA from the UW in 2002, which allows people working in full-time jobs to take classes part-time. 

Nor did she make up for it by getting an informal education.  She didn't knock around Europe for a summer with a friend or try to build a business.   Until this August, she didn't marry.  She hasn't yet been a parent.  Outside of working on the family farm and fruit stand and then four years working at McDonald's, she has had no other job besides campaign aide, legislative aide or legislator. 

Her Dad, Wayne McMorris was a legislator.  Like her Dad, Cathy is apparently personable.  And the Republican Party simply parted the waters for her so she never had to work hard to get the next job.  She was working as an aide to a family ally in the State Legislature when she was 20 years old.  So she didn't struggle with trying to find a job or defining what really mattered to her enough to work for it.  I doubt she had the luxury of having her own opinions or preferences about much. 

McMorris was handed the opportunity to run in the 7th LD in eastern Washington when the man she was working for, Bob Morton, went on to represent the 7th LD as Senator.  She served as the Representative for the 7th for 10 years and then served as Republican Leader in the House from 2002 to 2004.  Her mentor and friend in the Washington State legislator was Jim West.  West, very much like Mark Foley, was a mostly out gay man, who was also a pedophile.   In talking about the Mark Foley scandal and its similarity to the Jim West situation, McMorris' role in the leadership of the Republican Party in both cases, AB says: 

This isn't the first time the Republican leadership has been caught in a pedophile cover-up. Two years ago this very situation exploded in eastern Washington when it came out that his Republican colleagues had twiddled their fingers for 15 years while out of control sexual predator Jim West used his political clout to hunt down boys right in there front of them.

McMorris was then handed the opportunity to run as the Republican in 2004 in the 5th CD when George Nethercutt was "asked" to run against Patty Murray.  She won over Don Barbieri and went straight from there into Republican leadership in Congress.  Cathy is  the Freshman Class representative on the Steering Committee and is on the Republican Whip Team.  She is intimately tied in with the gang of Republican leaders responsible for Mark Foley, for the Abramoff scandal and the K Street Project, for the rubber-stamping of everything that the Bush Administration has asked for.  As a result, again from the "Down with Tyranny" article:

The metastasizing incompetence and criminality of the GOP nationwide has forced the traditionally ultra-conservative 5th District to re-evaluate its affectionate and protective feelings about Cathy McMorris the person, against the reprehensible deeds of Congresswoman McMorris, gang member.

Defend eastern Washington family values. Clean up Congress. Elect a Representative with integrity who can think for himself. Support Peter Goldmark.

I think it's sad that Cathy McMorris has never even tried to find her own voice separate from the men whose interests she serves.  She doesn't belong in Congress, continuing to serve these men who have led this country so astray.  As the previous quote says, support Peter Goldmark, a man who knows his neighbors and their needs and will genuinely represent the interests of his constiuents. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 13, 2006 at 09:24 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (6)

October 12, 2006

Olbermann on "Tempting Fate"

The hypocrisy of this Administration seems to know no bounds.  Now it's using Evangelical Christians to win elections while holding them in contempt.  That's the focus of this new book by David Kuo, formerly the #2 in the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.  Olbermann summarizes what Kuo says in his new book, "Tempting Fate".  Ouch.  The "Nuts", as the Administration called them, aren't going to like this. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 12, 2006 at 09:02 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Discrepancies in Port Audit Findings

The Seattle Port's new audit committee released incomplete audit findings from a Deloitte & Touche audit completed recently.  An article in the Seattle Times yesterday by Alwyn Scott reports that the the summary glossed over "significant deficiencies" in the Port's 2005 financial accounting, failing to disclose negative details in the audit report. 

Lloyd Hara and John Creighton, the two new Port commissioners, had asked for an audit and the creation of an audit committee in order to bring more transparency to the Port and it's finances.  Both men have extensive experience with audit committees: Hara as a former King County auditor and Creighton as a securities lawyer who advises boards on setting up audit committees.  Hara had expected to be on that committee but was not asked to serve.  Instead, President Patricia Davis and longtime commissioner Bob Edwards composed the audit committee.

The Port has long operated under the radar and apparently has no intention of changing that pattern.  Here's what the article says about the discrepancies between the Deloitte & Touche report and the summary by the audit committee:

What the auditor said: "We noted certain matters involving the Port's internal control and its operation that we consider to be reportable conditions. Reportable conditions involve matters coming to our attention relating to significant deficiencies in the design or operation of the Port's internal control that, in our judgment, could adversely affect the Port's ability to record, process, summarize and report financial data consistent with the assertions of the management in the financial statements."

What the commission heard: "There were no findings by the audit firm. A finding is reported by the audit firm if there are significant issues to be addressed by the client. A clean, unqualified opinion was reported by Deloitte Touche."

What the auditor said: "The Port should improve the operation and design of certain controls that are in place with regard to the issues noted above."

What the commission heard: "There were no material weaknesses in the Port's internal controls. ... Deloitte Touche's audit ... noted no major systemic deficiencies. ... The commission audit committee is pleased with the excellent results of the 2005 financial audit by Deloitte Touche."

According to the article, Lloyd Hara said that the committee glossed over significant deficiencies in the financial accounting, "including $15 million in bookkeeping errors and $9.7 million in bills that weren't properly recorded".  There were no big issues, like fraud or embezzlement and no one expected there would be.  But the previous year's audit had also uncovered significant errors and misclassified contributions. 

The Port of Seattle owns 1,400 acres along Puget Sound including the Shilshole Bay Marina, Fisherman's Terminal, the cruise ship berths at Bell Street Pier, the cargo container facility at Terminal 46, other shipping and marine activity on Harbor Island and the mouth of the Duwamish River, as well as Sea-Tac International Airport.  The annual budget for operations and capital expenditures exceeds $1billion and the decisions the Port makes impact air and water quality and thousands of jobs.

Taxpayers provide $62 million of the Port's operating expenses.  Of that, $11 million was misclassified.  I have often thought that even attentive citizens don't pay sufficient attention to either the judiciary or the Port.  Based on this article, it appears that there is a persistent lack of accountability leading to a huge missed opportunity.  Rather than cover up the negative findings, the Port could use them to make more effective use of our property tax dollars. 

We in the Netroots are working hard to elect and support  more progressive and effective legislators, both locally and nationally.  No reason to allow a hugely important public agency like the Port of Seattle to slip out of our scrutiny. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 12, 2006 at 08:56 AM in The Politics of Business | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 11, 2006

Olbermann on Habeas Corpus

Keith Olbermann digs under the Foley scandal and the news from North Korea and looks at the bill the Senate passed on Sept. 28th eliminating Habeas Corpus at the discretion of the President.  It's snarky and well worth the look.  He reminds us that Bush swore to uphold the Constitution when he came into office but seems pretty off-hand about disregarding that oath now.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 11, 2006 at 10:04 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Need a Smile?

Ned Lamont has a wonderful video-clip of him with a bunch of cutie-pie kids.  Sometimes the rest of the news can be difficult to take in.  This is a great antidote

BTW, Ned is pulling up with Lieberman in the polls in Connecticut, thankfully.  He's now down by 8 points but seems to have some momentum back.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 11, 2006 at 09:37 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Toll on Us

Last night, before finding the article referred in the previous post, I saw a new video-clip put together by a 15-year old girl who lives in Alabama, Ava Lowery, who first came to the attention of the Netroots at YearlyKos in June.  She started an organization called Peace Takes Courage and put up a website.  Her latest project, this video looks at the toll on the US families of sending our young people (and no longer only young people) to fight in Iraq.  Take a look.

I was struck with how like a feudal nation we've become - sending the peasants off to fight wars whose sole purpose is to provide land or resources to the very few at the top.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 11, 2006 at 05:19 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Weeping for Iraq - 655,000 Dead

A team of Iraqi physicians and epidemiologists from John Hopkins University are estimating that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since March 2003 than would have died if the US invasion had not occurred.  The survey, being published today by the British medical journal, the Lancet, was conducted using "cluster sampling", a technique used to estimate mortality as a result of famines and natural disasters.  From an article in today's WAPO:

Of the total 655,000 estimated "excess deaths," 601,000 resulted from violence and the rest from disease and other causes, according to the study. This is about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country.

<snip>

According to the survey results, Iraq's mortality rate in the year before the invasion was 5.5 deaths per 1,000 people; in the post-invasion period it was 13.3 deaths per 1,000 people per year. The difference between these rates was used to calculate "excess deaths."

To put this is some historical context: 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda in the genocide of 1994.  In Cambodia in the years 1975-1979, 1.7 million people were killed.  And unfortunately, this is not over.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 11, 2006 at 05:14 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

October 10, 2006

Matthew Shepard's Death and the Laramie Project

The General started it all - with his letter to the Superintendent of the Yakima School District about canceling A. C. Davis High's production of The Laramie Project. Here's what the General said (for those of you not familiar with Jesus' General website, it's satire of the best kind so translate what he's saying with that in mind):

Godless promoters of tolerance will certainly point out that there is nothing in the script that anyone would find offensive, but that is a lie. The play is a brutal indictment of one of our most effective tools for enforcing cultural conformity--the use of violence against those who would corrupt our culture by acting on their in-born attraction to those of their own gender. The Laramie Project demeans our long tradition of encouraging homophobia. It flings mud upon the Jackboots of Righteousness we've shined so lovingly for generations. What could be more offensive than that?

As an aside, the General, a nationally recognized blogger who lives east of the Cascades, went on to "rant" about the need to take down a statue of the most infamous student to attend that school, Justice William O. Douglas Jr.

He says:

Its presence mocks every value in which we believe. To stand before it is to stand before some demonic apparition whose long-ago-uttered words continue to reverberate off the courtyard's walls. Indeed, Douglas seems to speak through his bronzed likeness, reminding us:

Literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.

and

Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter. The audience that hissed yesterday may applaud today, even for the same performance.

Then Goldy stepped in to discuss the cancellation of the play and the politics behind it, arguing with a blog poster over at (un)Sound Politics, Matt Rosenberg, who apparently suggested that 1) the play wasn't true to an ABC 20/20 segment on the death of Matthew Shepard and 2) that it wasn't the place of the schools to teach tolerance.   Goldy tears into him as you might imagine:

And whatever the truth about Shepard’s murder, the undisputed fact is that hate crimes do occur, and that in America – like all over the world – people are indeed discriminated against, ostracized, brutalized, even killed because of their race, their religion, their politics and their sexual orientation. Thus in its heart, The Laramie Project would be a truthful play, even if it were a total work of fiction. If you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand art.

Dave Neiwert, over at Orcinus, another nationally known local treasure, then steps in to remind us that he dissected the 20/20 segment on Shepard's death in December of 2004, shortly after it was aired. Neiwert is a national expert on hate crimes and he wrote  a book on Shepard's death,  "Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America",  He challenged both the thesis and the basic accuracy of the ABC segment. 

Indeed, the entire thrust of ABC's "revelations" -- that it was all a drug binge, not a hate crime -- reveals how little the reporters who worked on this understand not just bias crimes but criminal law generally. One factor, such as drug use, does not cancel out another, such as a bias motive. They often in fact appear together and work in conjunction.

There's an even more significant problem with the 20/20 report, however: It is signficantly factually flawed.

Dave goes on to lay out the details of how ABC got it wrong and then to discuss the negative power of hate crimes and the reasons that law need to be very stringent:

A bias crime thus attacks the victim not only physically but at the very core of his identity. It is an attack from which there is no escape. It is one thing to avoid the park at night because it is not safe. It is quite another to avoid certain neighborhoods because of one's race. This heightened sense of vulnerability caused by bias crimes is beyond that normally found in crime victims. Bias-crime victims have been compared to rape victims in that the physical harm associated with the crime, however great, is less significant than the powerful accompanying sense of violation. The victims of bias crimes thus tend to experience psychological symptoms such as depression or withdrawal, as well as anxiety, feelings of helplessness, and a profound sense of isolation.

Why do I focus on this issue again, other than to give three of our local bloggers a big shout out (which they hardly need)?  Well 1) I saw The Laramie Project years ago in San Francisco when it first came out and it is an incredibly moving play.  2) the penalties for hate crimes are being watered down and 3) once this election is over, those of us who are fighting so hard to get Democrats elected are going to have to turn our attention to raising and clarifying our issues.  There will be a great drum-beat of right-wing talking points to try to undercut the impact of the election of Democratic majorities in one or both Houses of Congress.  They will go after us with everything they have.  That's what they did in 1993 after Clinton was elected and it contributed to the Clinton administration's difficulties greatly.  They didn't expect it and didn't plan for it.  This time, we know it will happen and need to resist it mightily.

A Summary of What Happened to Matthew Sheppard

For those of you who haven't heard of or want a refresher on the what actually occurred, here is a summary that Dave Neiwert wrote in that same article referenced above, based on his own book:

Shepard, a twenty-two-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, was openly gay, and was somewhat flamboyant about it, at least by Laramie standards. Hanging out in a local bar the night of October 6, he managed at least to attract the attention of two local rednecks, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, who were looking for someone to rob, and picked Shepard because he was gay. They told Shepard they too were gay and offered to give him a ride home in their pickup truck, and Shepard accepted.

McKinney later gave multiple, conflicting accounts of what happened that night. He told a police detective that Shepard had not made any advances toward him at the bar, but that Shepard put his hand on McKinney's leg inside the pickup, at which point McKinney told him: "Guess what? We're not gay. You're gonna get jacked." From prison, he wrote to a friend that he started beating Shepard in the car because of an even more naked advance:

"When we got out to where he was living, I got ready to draw down on his ass, and all of the sudden he said he was gay and wanted a piece of me. While he was 'comming out of the closet' he grabbed my nuts and licked my ear!! Being a verry drunk homofobic [sic] I flipped out and began to pistol whip the fag with my gun, ready at hand."

Later, at trial, McKinney attempted to claim that Shepard had in fact made an advance on him at the bar, whispering a sexual proposition into his ear and then licking his lips suggestively. The humiliation he felt at the advance, he claimed, spurred a violent rage that made him want to beat Shepard. (The judge, however, struck down this testimony.)

Whatever the sequence of events and motivations, the three men wound up southeast of town in a remote area near the Sherman Hills subdivision. McKinney and Henderson robbed Shepard and tied him up with rope. As Shepard begged for his life, McKinney proceeded to beat him severely, ultimately pulling out a gun and pistol-whipping him over the head. They left him to die, in the freezing night air, leaned up against a wooden rail fence.

It was in that pose that two mountain bikers found him, some twelve hours later, at first thinking he was a "scarecrow" someone had propped up on the fence. (Their original description created a popular image of Shepard strung up on the fence like a crucified martyr, though in fact his arms were tied behind him and he was seated on the ground.) Though he probably should have either bled to death or succumbed to hypothermia, he was barely alive. He lingered for another five days at the Laramie hospital before he finally died of his injuries.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 10, 2006 at 01:15 PM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Darcy's Latest Ad: It's Great

After a couple of soft, introductory ads, Darcy is now taking on Reichert and linking him to Bush and failed Republican policies.  Take a look.

Matt Stoller of MyDD, who has been assessing Democratic campaign ads this cycle, says he likes that Darcy is taking the gloves off.  He also talked about meeting Darcy this last weekend, when he was in town for the TownHall panel on blogging.  Here's what he says about meeting her:

She's really funny, which is rare for a politician since the CW is that jokes are off message unless they are cynical, annoying, not funny, and quip-like. 

Darcy's running a good campaign and she's going to make us proud.  One of the weirdest and least understood problems with the Democrats in the House is how little turnover there has been since 1992.  There has been almost no new blood, and what new blood has come into the House on the Democratic side is New Dem/DLC.  Our reps are kind of insular, they haven't seen the world as a normal person for 14 years at least.  They're just not, well, cool.

Along with a lot of other candidates this cycle, Darcy's cool.  She wasn't in Congress during the Clinton years, during the dotcom cycle, during 9/11, during Iraq.  She's normal.  She's quite accomplished both personally and professionally outside of politics, and that's different from what we have in there now on either side.  So anyway, if you haven't made your donations yet you should give some scratch to Darcy's campaign.

People like Darcy when they meet her.  She's comfortable in her own skin, which is what allows her to be funny without mucking it up.  People can see she's real.  She's smart and she's not overly cautious like many politicians.  Like Matt says, give her some money.  She will need it as the Republicans panic here in the last four weeks and start to attack wildly. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 10, 2006 at 11:31 AM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 09, 2006

The bomb-grade plutonium that was on ice from 1994 to 2002 is now actual bombs.

story photoOutstanding editorial on TalkingPoints on North Korea and Bush. This is a must read - and it seems to me that this whole nuclear test in North Korea will be a giant blow to Bush and the GOP. Why are we in Iraq again?

"Then in the winter of 2002-3, the US prepared the invade Iraq, the North called Bush's bluff. And the president folded. Abjectly, utterly, even hilariously if the consequences weren't so grave and vast. Threats are a potent force if you're willing to follow through on them. But he wasn't. The plutonium production plant, which had been shuttered since 1994, got unshuttered. And the bomb that exploded tonight was, if I understand this correctly, almost certainly the product of that plutonium uncorked almost four years ago. So the President talked a good game, the North Koreans called his bluff and he folded."


Read and discuss the story at NewsCloud

Posted by Jeff on October 9, 2006 at 12:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 08, 2006

Rahm Emanuel Cuts to the Quick

You don't want to be on the wrong side of Rahm Emanuel, chair of the DCCC.  He's sharp and to the point and, most importantly, on our side.  He was on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" this morning along with Republican Adam Putnam of Florida who was sitting in for the beleaguered Rep. Tom Reynolds, chair of the NCCC.  Reynolds, of New York, is now fighting for his own political life as a result of his lame response to the Mark Foley affair.  Putnam didn't have a chance.  Of course, he had nothing but lies to offer.

Here's the link to this segment of the show.

And, if you would like to hear Rahm in person, he will be in Bellevue this Thursday at a fund-raiser for Darcy Burner, along with Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Lynn Woolsey of California.  Cost $100 - a good bargain if, like me, you had planned to give Darcy another few bucks to take back our Congress. 

Also, a reminder that the Seattle Times Debate between Darcy Burner and Dave Reichert is this Tuesday, the 10th in Bellevue at the Meydenbauer Center at 7:00.  I doubt they let you bring popcorn but it sure will be fun. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 8, 2006 at 11:27 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 07, 2006

Intiative 933 Threats Obvious in Oregon's Measure 37

I've posted some materials from the No on 933 campaign regarding the impact of Measure 37 in Oregon. M37 is devastating. Tall condo developments in residential neighborhoods. Gigantic billboards.

As of mid-September, over 2400 claims have been filed, demanding over $5 billion in payment. The vast majority of these claims are to develop or subdivide farm and forest land. Altogether, 175,000 acres are affected by Measure 37 claims. A staggering 85% of this land is currently protected for farming and forestry. But Measure 37 claims aren’t just devastating rural areas, urban neighborhoods are being affected as well.

And the scary part - the poll numbers on 933 look like it may pass in Washington state. King County voters just aren't getting it - only 43 percent are opposed to 933 currently. Start emailing everyone you know about this disastrous initiative.

Vote no on 933 Web site

No on 933 needs more volunteers to phone bank to protect Washington
from uncontrolled development threatened by Initiative 933. Once you
learn the system, you can phone bank from home. Contact Katie
McClendon (206) 323-0520, katie@Noon933.org

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Posted by Jeff on October 7, 2006 at 12:25 PM in Ballot Initiatives | Permalink | Comments (5)

Newsweek: Bush at 33

A Newsweek poll out this morning has Bush's approval ratings at 33%, down from 36% in August. A mere 25% of respondents are satisfied with the direction of the country while 67% are not. Moreover, more Americans trust the Democrats over the Republicans on both values and the war on terror, up to now the only strengths of the GOP. The Newsweek article, by Marcus Mabry, indicates that the Foley scandal is making it difficult for the Republicans to put their message out and stop the slide.

The scandal’s more significant impact seems to be a widening of the yawning credibility gap developing between the President, his party and the nation.

Mabry adds:

Fully 53 percent of Americans want the Democrats to win control of Congress next month, including 10 percent of Republicans, compared to just 35 percent who want the GOP to retain power.

Other pollsters are saying similar things. Stuart Rothenberg is saying that we may have a Democratic blowout of cosmic proportions on November 7th.

Let’s forget all of the niceties and diplomatic language and cut to the obvious truth: From the White House to Capitol Hill, Republicans look inept. And that assertion is based on what Republicans are saying.

On a local note, I got word from the Goldmark campaign yesterday that their latest internal poll by the Lake Research Partners shows McMorris at 45% and Goldmark at 38%. That's within striking distance, especially given the current state of affairs. McMorris is also having difficulty with her job approval ratings. Only 37% of the likely voters in the 5th CD rated here at good or excellent while 50% gave her a fair or poor.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 7, 2006 at 09:06 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Cell is Like Tron

Here is a beaurtiful YouTube clip of the miracle of what goes on inside the cells in our bodies. From noodling around the Internet, specifically Darksyde at DailyKos with another of his incredible reminders of the wonders of the Universe. 

Way off topic unless you consider that we are trying to get our country back so we can prevent the destruction of life as we know it, which I truly believe its part of the Agenda here.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 7, 2006 at 07:54 AM in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 06, 2006

Dem Radio Ads on Foley Scandal

A Democratic Congressional candidate in OH-15, Mary Jo Kilroy, is running an ad on Christian radio stations in her district against her opponent, Republican House leader Deborah Pryce.  Check it out.  With changes in the name, it may well be coming to a Christian radio station near you. Here's the transcript:

ANNCR: What is going on in Washington? Our troops are sent to war without proper body armor, members of Congress like Deborah Pryce gave themselves $30,000 in pay raises while running up the largest deficit in American history.

Deborah Pryce's friend Mark Foley is caught using his position to take advantage of 16 year old pages. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert looked the other way when he was warned of Foley's predatory behavior. Deborah Pryce is one of the top Republicans in Congress. No wonder Pryce refused to criticize Hastert for ignoring the Foley problem. No wonder she won't call for Foley to resign. Now Pryce is protecting Hastert, even though he protected a sex predator?.

Republican leaders were more concerned about protecting politicians than protecting teenagers.

Deborah Pryce is part of the problem in Congress.

It's time for change.

Deborah Pryce had previously said that Mark Foley was one of her five best friends in Congress.  She also took money from him.  So, this ad may not be so effective just anywhere.  But the idea that it is running on Christian radio stations is what is so amazing to me.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 6, 2006 at 11:01 PM in Candidate Races, Media | Permalink | Comments (0)

What We are Working Towards in this Election

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi talked about what she would do in the first 100 hours as Speaker of the House next January if the Democrats take back the House.  In an article in the Washington Post today, Pelosi talks about "draining the swamp" after more than a decade of Republican rule in Congress.  In an AP interview she says that as Madame Speaker (yeah, yeah!) here's the Agenda:

Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step. Cut the interest rate on student loans in half. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

Sounds good to me.  Ought to rev us all up to keep up the doorbelling, calling, donating, writing and talking.  Our job in this corner of the country is to get Darcy and Peter elected.  Stay on it.  I'd like to see this Agenda instituted and more to come.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 6, 2006 at 09:50 AM in National and International Politics, Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Bush Administration Blows Off 9/11 Warning

During his 'hair on fire' period in the summer of 2001, CIA Chief George Tenet briefed Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft about imminent threats posed by the bin Laden terrorist network.  Rice gave him the brush-off; we don't yet know how Rumsfield responded; and John Ashcroft promptly started flying only on chartered jets.  Someone at least took the threats seriously.

We heard last week about the briefing that Tenet and Cofer Black gave to Rice on July 10th from Bob Woodward's new book, "State of Denial".  This is the meeting she claims to have forgotten, the one that did not make it into the 9/11 Commission report.  An article in the McClatchy Newspapers by Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel and John Walcott highlighted that briefing and notes a later one on July 17th that she asked them to give to Rumsfeld and Ashcroft.  The rest of the media has not much picked up on those meetings.  Here are some details from the article: 

One official who helped to prepare the briefing, which included a PowerPoint presentation, described it as a "10 on a scale of 1 to 10" that "connected the dots" in earlier intelligence reports to present a stark warning that al-Qaida, which had already killed Americans in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and East Africa, was poised to strike again.

<snip>

In the briefing, Tenet warned in very strong terms that intelligence from a variety of sources indicated that bin Laden's terrorist network was planning an attack on a U.S. target in the near future, said one of the officials.

"The briefing was intended to `connect the dots' contained in other intelligence reports and paint a very clear picture of the threat posed by bin Laden," said the official, who described the tone of the report as "scary."

The lack of response on the part of the administration, to these briefings that the CIA and others had been trying to call attention to, reportedly gave rise to the now famous Aug. 6, 2001 Daily Briefing to Bush entitled, "Bin Laden Likely to Strike in U.S". 

There are some interesting loose ends to tie up here.  First, Condi Rice's top deputy at the State Department, Philip Zelikow, was formerly the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission.  Tenet testified to Zelikow and to commissioner Richard Ben-Venista in early 2004 about the meeting but it never made it into the final report.  Secondly, Tenet is writing a book that is due out next spring.  That should be interesting and may lead to an all-out fight between the Bush Administration insiders and the CIA. 

Stay tuned.  Much as the Foley scandal and the Congressional Republican leadership cover-ups have been grabbing national attention, the real story of this administration's failures is only beginning to be understood. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 6, 2006 at 09:25 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Yesterday's Protests

Notes from our two Seattle newspapers on yesterday's "The World Can't Wait" protests against the torture bills, the war in Iraq and the Bush Administration:

From the Seattle PI, "Hundreds Protest Bush Regime":

One was Linda Boyd, a Clyde Hill mom and housewife. Another was Linda Strader, a West Seattle real estate agent. Patricia Thompson, a Seattle legal assistant, turned out with her law firm.

They were among several hundred protesters who rallied all day in Seattle against President Bush on Thursday, one of about 200 coordinated demonstrations nationwide organized by World Can't Wait -- Drive Out the Bush Regime. The day began at the University of Washington, moved to 11th Avenue and Olive Way on Capitol Hill and eventually to an all-night rally in front of the federal building downtown.

Police arrested five people.

MULTIMEDIA SLIDESHOW-- View a slideshow with audio from Wednesday's protests.

And from the Seattle Times, "Administration foes step out statewide":

Scores of anti-war activists, environmentalists and high-school students marched from the University of Washington campus to Capitol Hill and then to downtown Seattle Thursday, berating President Bush for everything from his management of the Iraq war to the handling of Hurricane Katrina.

Across the state, more than 250 related demonstrations were held, including rallies in Bellingham, Everett, Tacoma, Olympia, Wenatchee and Spokane, said organizers of the National Day of Mass Resistance. They said protests also were held as far away as Switzerland and Nepal.

Hat Tip to Howie

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 6, 2006 at 07:52 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 05, 2006

Goldmark-McMorris Debate in Spokane Today

For those of you who would have liked to see the Goldmark - McMorris debate in Spokane today, Goldmark's campaign staff has put a transcript of the debate up on a diary at DailyKos.  Take a look and give them a recommend so it will stay up awhile.  Peter seems to have done quite a good job against McMorris, who is reputedly not much of a public speaker.  Here are a couple of paragraphs from Goldmark's introductory remarks:

Economic realities in eastern Washington are difficult, facing high energy and fertilizer costs while energy prices stay low. Concerned our nation is losing its way. I see distressed economic conditions right in my home town--but I don't see anybody doing anything about it. I see dangers from terrorism, but confused and inadequate responses from our government.

Honesty and democratic values are eroding all around us, visible most painfully in our nation's capital where so many are caught in a miasma of greed and money. Our system was built on open representation and not the sweet temptation from money and lobbyists. I have to look my children in the eye and say our future is okay. I know we can do better.

Seems like a good time to give some money to Peter

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 5, 2006 at 04:09 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (0)

Today's Nationwide Protests

The World Can't Wait: Out of Iraq, Bush Out - that's the theme for today's protests around the country being held in response to the Torture Bill passed last week by both houses of Congress.  There is a website up with information on the protests and a Commentary by actor and writer Sean Penn.

There will be protests all over the state going into this evening.  Information here.  Here's the schedule for Seattle:

12:00 Noon--Gather at Cal Anderson Park, (on 11th Ave between E Denny and E Pine in Capitol Hill) followed by
1:00 pm--Rally with speakers and music
3:00 pm--March into downtown Seattle to the Federal Building (2nd & Marion)
4:00 pm--Rally and SIT-IN AT THE FEDERAL BUILDING--As the night unfolds, people will talk, debate, create music and art, and work together on visions and plans for driving out the Bush Regime and reversing the whole direction it has been taking the country and the world.

Here's a couple of excerpts from Penn's statement that was read in NYC on Monday entitled "The Arrogant, the Misguided, and the Cowards":

We the people of the United States have a unique opportunity. We can show each other and the world that what the Bush administration claims is their mission is not ours. And, by leading our country as a citizenry and demanding of our government an immediate end to our own military and profit investments in Iraq, display for the entire world that democracy is a government of the people.

<snip>

This is an administration that advocates torture, deceives the public, spends billions of dollars on a failed war. This is an administration where in the year of Katrina, Exxon Mobil claimed the highest profit margin in the history of world business. It is an administration that belittles, demeans, deceives, and indeed kills our brothers, our sisters, our sons, and our daughters.

<snip>

Stand up as an American and join World Can't Wait and those demonstrating this Thursday, October 5th.

As one who went through the Vietnam War protests several decades ago, I'm sad to see the need for this again.  And I'm stunned that the Republican war-mongers were willing to tear our country apart again to further their narrow interests but here we are.  Out to the streets.

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 5, 2006 at 09:47 AM in National and International Politics, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 03, 2006

Mark Foley's Story: A Microcosm of How Republicans Work

It has been fascinating to watch this Foley story play out in the news.  In this relatively easily understood controversy, we see more clearly than usual how Republicans operate.  It's all there but more condensed than usual.  Also, they didn't seem to have had control over when it came out so it caught them by surprise and we had about two days of getting to see behind the curtain before we got shut out again - with each of them trying to cover their own ass first before getting their stories coordinated.  It is yet to be seen whether the raw nerve of covering for a pedophile in Congress will cause this particular scandal to tie the Republicans down or whether they'll slip out yet again.   

This story highlights the worst attributes of modern day Republicanism.   These guys are addicts.  They are even willing to throw their children over to stay in power. 

As I've come to understand it, the Republicans have known that Foley was gay since the early 1990's but he is from a wealthy, sturdy Republican district and he brings a lot of money into the party. Take a look at any of the photos with Foley and Hastert or Foley and Allen that have been up in the last couple days.  These guys simply don't look comfortable with Foley or he with them.  (Sorry, I didn't think to keep those photos, only realizing later how telling they were, and now I can't find them).  And how could they be?  So much of what the Republicans say they stand for forces Mark Foley to live a dishonest life.  How could he possibly be comfortable with them?  But he could bring in a lot of money and they liked that. 

The Miami Herald had an article up with local folks sharing their impressions of the story.  Journalist Michael Rogers, who is gay himself, has reported on Rep. Mark Foley of West Palm Beach for three years.  Someone he quotes says that Foley had a long-time partner for 19 years.  Yet, Rogers says Foley is, like our own Jim West, anti-gay, and he voted for a federal DOMA Act.  Rogers goes on to say:

I do believe that he had unhealthy sexual advances to these guys because he was living his life as a closeted gay man.  Healthy gay men who are mature and dealing with their sexuality in a mature way don't hit on kids who are 16 years old. What's his signature issue? You don't know whether to laugh or cry.

So Congressman Foley comes to live a warped life and the Republicans are so uncomfortable with him, they still can't bring themselves to tell him to quit it and get help.  Plus they want to keep the seat and avoid not just a scandal but a "gay-themed" scandal at that.  So they ignore the impact of the communications between Foley and several pages over five years.  They enable his preying and then cover up his "naughtiness" as if they never got the lessons of over a decade's worth of the scandals in the Catholic church. 

Instead they go all out on cover-up.  Kirk Fordham, who had been Foley's chief of staff and is currently the chief of staff for Tom Reynolds and the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee), does his best to prevent the content of the emails and IM's being published, shuts down the Republican page website and gets Foley safely away to a alcoholic treatment center.

Jon Stewart, plus more, after the fold.

So, while we still have a moment of public awareness let's consider what this says about this corrupt Republican leadership?  Noemie has a piece up at Washblog where she puts this is a larger context beautifully:

There's a correlation between this disregard, this bottomless disrespect, for the safety and wellbeing of the young men Foley exploited for  narrow pleasure -- and the obscene disregard and lack of respect for the young men and women they send off to kill and torture and be corrupted and maimed and killed. 

While most of us would prefer to be focusing people's attention on the really large issues of total arrogance, ineptitude, corruption and covering up mistakes of judgment in regard to the war on terror or the Iraq War or the Katrina aftermath, what we get the most press on is the Foley pedophile case.  But it's all the same failures, all the same players, all the same game plans. 

Get rid of them so we have a chance of getting our country back.

Oh, and here is Jon Stewart's take on the whole thing. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 3, 2006 at 10:59 AM in National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

October 01, 2006

Olbermann on Bush Administration and 9/11

Following up on last week's Clinton-Wallace dust-up, Keith Olbermann details the lack of attention that the Bush Administration paid to the threats of terrorism in the 8 months they were in office prior to 9/11.  It is chilling even for those of us who thought we'd been paying attention.


Posted by Lynn Allen on October 1, 2006 at 02:05 PM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)