Tuesday, May 30, 2006
In Today's Homosexual Superhero News...
So Batwoman is making a comeback...as a "lipstick lesbian." She's been dead since 1979, but is coming back and coming out.

It's evidently part of a larger wave of more diverse superheroes that DC Comics is trying to push.

So...is this a breakthrough for the lesbian community? Or just for 13 year old boys?

TODAY The Fight In South Dakota BEGINS
UPDATE---Keloland is reporting that 38,000 signatures were gathered in South Dakota Read the Keloland article. That's more than twice as much as needed! This is good news since the Repubs are going to be going through these signatures with a fine tooth comb. But I find it very unlikely that they will be able to disqualify almost 18,000 signatures.

This is a victory, and we should feel really good about it. But now the real fight is about to begin. The law is on the ballot and now it's a matter of educating the voters and increasing turnout.

The petitions are being delivered today at 2pm. A news conference from Pierre will be held shortly after that. I’ve discussed this in an earlier post, but thought everyone would want an update.

In South Dakota a law can be delayed from going into effect, and instead be placed on the ballot for a public vote. A few months ago crazy wingnut State Rep. Roger Hunt sponsored HB1215, which bans abortion in almost all cases—there is no exception for cases of rape and incest. The bill was passed and Governor Mike Rounds signed it into law. But the good folks at South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families and at Focus: South Dakota have been busy gathering signatures to refer the law to the November ballot.

Polls have shown that the people of SD don’t like this law and think it went too far---so this is a fight we can win. A good indication of popular support will be the number of signatures gathered. The minimum number of required signatures is 16,278 (a nice round number), but according to this article from Keloland.com they should have gathered much more than that (http://www.keloland.com/News/NewsDetail5440.cfm?Id=0,48324).

This is a great article and it shows the level of support that opponents of the ban have across the state. They received 2,600 signatures in just the one day the reporter was in hq.

This is my favorite part:

“A national guard soldier stationed in Iraq even requested a petition. Peterson said, ‘So we mailed him a packet and he signed it and had the judge advocate general certify his signature and sent it back so he was able to get his name on a petition which I thought was fantastic.’”

In a few years when we look back on how the Republican Party and Right Wing Extremists lost their respectability and power, the events in South Dakota are going to be at the front of the list. This country is getting tired of the right’s inability to govern, and their overzealous need to regulate our lives and impose their own morality. Every foolish law or action that infringes on our liberty; every damaging tax cut; every action that is based on the wishes and goals of a few extremists and which refuses to acknowledge the damage done to the rest of us; every time they refuse to acknowledge the real tragedies happening in this country…they lose more followers, and they lose more respect, and they will eventually lose this country because of it.

This week it’s the signatures in South Dakota. Next week it’s Francine Busby trying to win in a solid-red district. The weeks to come will see primaries across the country. It all leads up to November of course, but November is far away. The fight in South Dakota is right now.

Here’s the site if you want to drop them some pennies:


I’m going to try to update later today when the number of collected signatures is announced (hopefully my google alerts won’t fail me).

Sunday, May 28, 2006
Unity -08—Can This Possibly Work?

Or a better question is, can this possibly matter?

A new website is launching this week that has the very modest goal of completely revolutionizing the way President’s are picked in the United States. There’s an article by Alter in Newsweek that explains the process: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13006799/site/newsweek/

Basically the group (Unity ’08) is going to try to get as many registered voters as possible to sign up on their website. Vote on a centrist platform, and then right after the Dem/Rep conventions hold an online primary that will nominate a unity ticket. One from each party I guess? They will then mobilize their members to get the ticket on the ballot across the country.

Evidently the outfit is being run by old politicos from the Carter and Ford days, but with all sorts of tech-savvy young ones helping out. The idea is for a kind of viral or open source politics.

It’s a really interesting idea (although maybe not that different from MoveOn’s internet primaries) but I don’t know if it can amount to anything. Are there enough politically minded bloggers and tech people out there who even want to see a unity ticket?

Will this swing a close race?

Will it be a spectacular flame-out?

Alter seems pretty skeptical of the idea, but he does make some interesting points that shows he wouldn’t be surprised if Unity ’08 pulls something off. First he reminds us that the first candidates to truly embrace new technologies are often the most successful (FDR and the radio, JFK and tv), some might say that Dean already did this, but the internet is growing and changing so fast that a candidate could conceivably master the new internet every four years.

He ends the article by also reminding us that “a wacky, jug-eared Texan named Ross Perot received 19 percent of the vote in 1992” by just talking about the deficit and buying a few infomercials.

This is then http://unity08.com/ they’ll be up and running sometime this week.

It’s an interesting idea, and I’m going to sign up for the emails, but have no idea where this will go.

Saturday, May 27, 2006
Today's News You Will Wish You Hadn't Heard
Here's the Article.

And some of the unintended consequences.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Or at least in one of the House office buildings!

Or in the garage.

Or maybe not a gunshot.

Maybe just someone dropping a book.

End of crisis.

Martial law has been enacted.

TUESDAY--The Repeal Begins

On Tuesday morning the group fighting the abortion ban in South Dakota will turn in the petitions they’ve been gathering for the past couple of months. It looks like there should be plenty of signatures! This means that the abortion ban will NOT go into effect, and that it will appear on the ballot this November.

This is a huge victory.

I think this is such a great way of fighting these crazies---Let them introduce stupid laws and then watch the people vote them out of existence. Perfect. It tells the politicians that people don’t like legislation written by religious extremists.

For those who don’t know, the bill is HB1215 and it was created by crazy rightwingers in the SD Senate and then signed by Governor Mike Rounds. The law would ban abortion in all cases—no provision for cases of rape or incest, and not even a provision to allow abortions when the mother’s life is in danger.

IT’S CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!

This is the draconian law that the religious right want to see go into effect all across the country. But if we can stop it in South Dakota it should then be easier to stop it in other states.

At first I was skeptical about whether or not the people of South Dakota would overturn the law, but now I’m sure we can win this thing. There was a great article in the NYTimes a few months ago that interviewed lots of hardcore conservatives who were opposed to the ban because it was just another example of the government reaching into the lives of ordinary people. I think the fiery independence of this part of the country will spell the end of HB1215.

The group collecting the signatures is South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families and they’re working with Focus South Dakota (who has had an ad up for a few weeks now). I think we really need to show these groups that we appreciate what they’re doing. I’m going to click through and drop them some money.

This is going to be a huge battle this November. I think it hasn’t received a lot of press yet because it’s not on the ballot yet. But after Tuesday more and more people are going to start paying attention.

And that means that all the wacko-christofacist groups will start pouring millions of dollars into South Dakota. It’s a small state and every dollar will make a difference. Let’s stop it in SD before it gets to Ohio, then Tennessee, then Texas, then Arizona, then North Carolina, then Indiana, then….

UPDATE: Sorry I forgot the website for Focus.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006
So Madonna Crucified Herself on the First Night of Her New Concert
Just thought you'd want to know.

Lloyd Bentsen 1921-2006
Sad news from Texas today as long time Congressman/Senator/Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen died.

Bentsen was one of a long line of fierce Texas Democrats who weren't afraiad to stand up for their liberal beliefs because they knew they were helping their constituents. These Texas Democrats are still around, but they're not as prominent and don't hold any major offices at the moment.

Bentsen was in the House of Representatives for ten years, and was a four term Senator. He won his first race for the Senate in a landslide over George HW Bush. In 1988 Benstsen was Dukakis' running mate so I guess Bush got his revenge in the long run. Bill Clinton made a mistake by naming Bentsen Treasury Secretary in 1992, not because he was a bad secretary, but because Bentsen's seat was picked up by Kay Bailey Hutchison who has held it ever since.

There was a time in American politics when you could be from a Southern state and still be pro-choice, and pro-women's rights and pro worker's rights and still be incredibly popular and respected. Bentsen was Senator in a time before the Republicans started using religion as a weapon and were able to convince people to voter for candidates who don't have their best interests in mind.

But things might be changing. Candidates like Paul Hackett, James Webb, Brian Schweitzer, and hell even Kinky Friedman down in Texas show that strong people who speak their mind can find support in the Reddest of states. If the Democrats retake one or both houses of Congress this year it will be in large part to the return of fierce candidates like Lloyd Bentsen.

Friday, May 19, 2006
You Can Almost Hear the Shredding on Capitol Hill

So it seems that disgraced Congressmen Randy "Duke/Dukestir/Maverick from Top Gun" Cunningham has decided he doesn't want to spend years and years in jail.

Instead, he is going to sing like the phantom of the opera. After weeks and weeks of stonewalling, Duke is going to cooperate with a federal investigation into Congressional corruption.

Who knows where this will lead. Maybe just to other staffers. Maybe to the entire GOP caucus. But I'm sure Duke will give up anyone he needs to in order to avoid jail time.

Read here and here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006
Bush's Approval Ratings--Now Color-Coded

This is from SuveyUSA's recent poll. Sliding and sliding across the country. Except for Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming, those people like him (kind of) but not as much as they did last month.

One interesting note: Bush's approval rating in Missouri is 29%. Bush won MO fairly easily, but he is more popular in Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut than in a state that hasn't gone Democrat since Andrew Jackson.

Monday, May 15, 2006
These Are the Guys
When we think about what started the chain of indictments, resignations, and what helped sweep the Republicans out of office these two guys, Mitchell Wade (left) and Jack Abramoff (right), are going to be at the top of the list.

Both have already pleaded guilty to corrupting Congressmen, and both are still continuing to cooperate with Federal Prosecutors. Abramoff will bring down Ney, most likely DeLay, and one or two more. Wade has brought down Cunningham, and according to new court documents, is continuing to cooperate, and will be cooperating for quite some time. It seems that Wade has so much dirt on so many people that he could turn into someone who's far more dangerous than Jack Abramoff.

More and more every day...

A Great Opportunity

For the next 36 hours. An anonymous donor has agreed to match all donations given to Planned Parenthood.

The perfect time to support an organization you always meant to give money to.

Click Here to do your part.

Sunday, May 14, 2006
What Might Have Been...

Saturday Night Live seems to average about 3 funny things a season.

This clip from last night's show featuring the once and future President Gore is so funny that you won't notice how sad it's making you.

My favorite part is that glaciers are attacking Michigan and Maine.

It's brilliance needs to be watched to be understood.

Friends and Family

Troops in Iraq are not receiving treatment for post-tramuatic stress disorder.

Troops in Iraq are being forced into combat even though they show signs of mental illness and depression. Sometimes leading to suicide.

The complete disregard that this administration shows for the health and safety of American soldiers is sickening, and will have a negative effect on our armed forces for generations.

No Story Here...
Just another scary picture.

(PS: This man will be indicted before he leaves office.)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

William Jefferson Clinton was a better President than George Walker Bush!



Review time for one of the main requirements of the "No Child Left Behind" Act came around last week. By this school year, every teacher of every core course in public schools was supposed to be licensed, have a B.A., and show "competence" in their subject.

Any states that failed to meet this requirement are going to see cuts in federal funding. Henry Johnson, assistant secretary of education for elementary and secondary education, says that "In some cases, we're talking about large amounts of money."

So how many of our states are so backwards that they failed to meet the Act's all or nothing requirments?

Would you guess.....all of them? All 50, plus DC and Puerto Rico, states could see cuts in federal funding.

But that's ok, most public schools don't need any more money anyways right?

(Yes that's a real picture of a real American public school. Good luck guessing where.)

Friday, May 12, 2006
...Dusty Foggo, formerly #3 at CIA, will be indicted soon.

...Karl Rove has told Josh Bolten and the President that he will also be indicted soon.

I Bet She Picked Up A Few Votes With This Outfit

Karl Rove, Gov. Jeb and Prez. W have all made it clear in recent weeks that they don't think that Katherine Harris can beat Nelson and become Florida's next Senator. They've said this publicly and have all sat down with her to ask her to drop out.

Most of her staff have defected, she has corruption issues bubbling under the surface, all Democrats in Florida still hate her for giving Bush the election in 2000, and she might have serious mental issues (Chris Matthews openly questioned her sanity a few days ago on Hardball).

But that doesn't mean she's not going to run. She keeps saying she's sticking it through. And Florida House Speaker Bense (who could turn it into a competitive race) has recently crushed Karl Rove's dreams by saying he won't run.

This is the sort of infighting and weird power plays that Democrats are known for. And it's a sign of serious disarray in the GOP that Harris is still running. The deadline for Senate candidates is still about a month away, so things could change, but it looks like her ego (and craziness) is more important to her than the good of her party.

Fine by me.

It Finally Happened.


Thursday, May 11, 2006
It Just Keeps Going and Going...

The Republican Governor of Kentucky was just indicted for...something, conspiracy? obstruction? theft? solicitation? public drunkeness? It's hard to keep track these days.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Dubya and the Only Guy Less Popular Than Him

NYTIMES/CBS Poll: 31% approval


With the margin of error, he could be at 28%.

Nixon never got too much below 27%.

It sounds like a bad joke

"So a defense contractor, six or seven congressmen, one of the top guys at the CIA, a raft-load of prostitutes, and a guy named 'Nine Fingers' are playing poker in the Watergate..."

But it turns out the punchline might just be jail time.

Ken Silverstein
has another great article on the whole CIA-Dukestir-Watergate-Prostitute scandal that is probably about to end multiple careers (if it hasn't already).

Quite a Weekend
So I go on vacation for a few days (it was my birthday, thank you, send checks no cash) and we have the #1 and the #3 guys at CIA resign (but not because of prostitutes of course), a Dem Rep enter rehab, more unbelievably low poll numbers for Shrub, David Blaine almost died after eating the Chrysler Building (or something, I'm not really sure) and Karl Rove inches ever closer to indictment.

And the election is still SIX months away--these are going to be fun months.

Friday, May 05, 2006
The head of the CIA has just resigned.

No real reason has been given yet.

But I'm sure it doesn't have anything at all to do with hookers.

Say It Ain't So Fidel
Forbes is reporting that ole Fidel is worth a cool $900 MILLION dollars, which puts him well above Queen Liz (and just behind Dick Cheney).

PS: I would lead a rebellion for a pair of glasses like that...no really, where do you find those...they're like the emo glasses mixed with Julie Newmar. I love it.

Subpoenaes + Witnessess=
One big juicy scandal that's bursting at the seams (so to speak).

Josh Marshall is reporting that the Watergate Hotel (yes that Watergate) has received subpoenas regarding the whole Duke Cunningham/Brent Wilkes/MZM Inc./Porter Goss/Dusty Foggo/some other dirty Republicans scandal.

Now I'm no legal genius, but I've seen enough episodes of Law and Order to konw that subpoenas are generally only used when someone wants to find something that will send someone else to jail. Now the case against Duke Cunningham is open and shut, do they need more on him? Or is this just getting started? Either way, there seems to be a development in this case everyday, which probably means someone's doing a perp walk real soon.

I Am Not A Number

This is completely unrelated to anything else on this site, but...The Prisoner the trippiest, weirdest, most damn paranoid, postmodern television show in the history of good tv, is being remade.

This could be disastrous...but I'm really excited. If you've never seen the original you should check out a few episodes and see what you think.

Christopher Eccleston (aka the new Doctor Who) is set to play Number 6...we'll see how it turns out.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Colbert, Bricks, and Dubya's Head...
what more could you possibly want out of the internet

What else could explain this recent article in the WSJ which includes an admission from the CIA that Kyle "Dusty" Foggo (the number 3 guy at the CIA) attended parties at the Watergate with Brent Wilkes and other MZM staffers (and presumably a few bribed congressmen; see below for more detail).

Here's what they said:

"The Central Intelligence Agency confirmed its third-ranking official, Executive Director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, attended poker games in Washington, D.C., hotel hospitality suites, the use of which is the focus of a federal criminal investigation.

A CIA spokeswoman said Mr. Foggo strongly denies anything improper occurred while he was present during the games, held at times in the Watergate and Westin Grand hotels in Washington.

She said Mr. Foggo says he never witnessed any prostitutes at the games...."

There's that good ole CIA plausible deniability. Foggo never "witnessed" any prostitutes at the parties. Maybe he left early, maybe they were in another room, maybe he played poker while squinting the whole time, or maybe (as I said above) they were invisible.

Either way, it's the American intelligence service at its finest.

Muckracker has more.

Monday, May 01, 2006
Look To FDR
One of my core political beliefs is that the Democratic Party could stay in power for decades and decades as long as they follow the steps of Franklin Roosevelt.

It's possible that someone other than FDR could have saved the United States from economic collapse and facism at the same time, but it's pretty unlikely. The man was a hero to the world, he inspired millions of people every week with his radio addresses, he delivered speeches that will still make you cry, and he was elected President FOUR times in a row. This wasn't just a guy who was in the right place at the right time; he connected with people in a way that almost no one has done before or since.

And he can still lead the Democrats to victory. For example, when FDR took office in 1932 the country was teetering on the verge of complete economic collapse. People were running on the banks and pulling out all their money, banks were being ruined in a single day (you saw this scene in Mary Poppins). So one of the first things FDR did was declare a mandatory week-long Bank Holiday, he also asked Congress to give him more control over the country's financial institutions. This was a huge request, and a lesser President might have looked like a dictator or a fool.

But FDR went on the radio and explained in clear, yet intelligent language what exactly he was doing and why he needed to do it. You can read it here.
The speech is amazing; it's easy to understand, it's complex, and it doesn't shy away from the severity of the situation. This is the speech that was the model for Jimmy Stewart's speech to the anxious people in the bank at the end of It's A Wonderful Life. You have to remember that at this point no one really knew how bank's worked, and most people didn't trust them.

FDR literally defused the situation in a single night, and then slowly rebuilt the country.

If the Dems want to take the lead on stem-cell research, the importance for renewable fuels, a new strategy for Iraq, or anything at all--they can look to this speech as a guide.

But I just came across a new reason to have even more faith in FDR, and therefore in the Democratic party. Evidently back in 1932 nobody liked him.

Jonathan Alter has just written a new book on FDR, and has an essay on Huffington Post, that gets in to more detail.

FDR was considered so weak that the party didn't want him and his campaign manager couldn't even get a seat in the New York delegation to the 1932 Dem Convention (even though FDR was the Governor of New York!). He was a flip flopper who was neither for nor against prohibition, and wasn't even considered all that smart. Democrats despaired and booed when he got the nomination.

Proof that you can't write anyone off. Proof that just because one candidate doesn't do it for you doesn't mean that he or she won't change the world. Does this mean that Tom Vilsack or Evan Bayh or Janet Napolitano could be the next FDR? Maybe. But it definitely means that leadership can literally come out of nowhere, and that things are never as bad as they seem, something the Democrats need to understand.

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