Democracy Has Prevailed.

May 31, 2008

Watching the Rules & Bylaws Committee on C-SPAN

Looks like a deal on Florida was made last night. From the Huffington Post:
Two sources, including a high-ranking official with the Florida delegation, have confirmed that the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) reached an agreement last night and will seat the state's entire delegation but give each delegate half a vote. The result would be a net gain of 19 delegates for Sen. Hillary Clinton, though there is no word yet on how the superdelegates from the state will be allocated. It is, the official says, a compromise that Sen. Barack Obama will be willing to make. "There will be theater but not much fight."
Representative Robert Wexler of Florida spoke to the Committee as a representative of the Obama campaign. From Talkingpointsmemo:

It's official: The Obama campaign is supporting a compromise for Florida that would seat all the delegates at half a vote each -- giving Hillary a net gain of 19 delegates.

Obama's representative at the Rules meeting, Florida Rep. Robert Wexler, just endorsed the idea during his presentation.

"Senator Obama should be commended for his willingness to offer this extraordinary concession," Wexler said, adding that he's offering this concession "in order to promote reconciliation with Florida voters."

Now the big issue is Michigan. Looks like there's a deal being made there, too. From The Huffington Post:

Sources with knowledge of the RBC's inner dealings say a compromise is being crafted in which all of the candidates who took their names off of the state's ballot would voluntarily agree that the now-uncommitted delegates would go to Obama, after which the state's entire delegation would be seated.

The proposal, which two sources confirm has been discussed, would stand the greatest chance of passing: it would pacify Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, who has demanded that his state's non-sanctioned January primary be fully honored; and it would circumvent the Clinton campaign's insistence that party rules prevent simply assigning all of Michigan's uncommitted delegates to Obama.

As background, Senator Clinton "won" that "primary." Here are the results from CNN. If the above holds, then Senator Clinton would be given 55% of the delegates and Senator Obama 40%.

I don't know exactly how that would translate into delegates, however.

May 30, 2008


Just a reminder.

I'll be on OffQ tonight - sitting in for Valerie McDonald Roberts.

That's 7:30pm on WQED-13.

This will be the first time I'll be on when I get to sit next to the Macyapper himself, John McIntire (unless of course, someone else is sitting in for him).

See you there.

UPDATE: You can see the whole show here.

May 29, 2008

Donald Sutherland Speaks His Mind

I know he's a Ca-NAY-djen (from New Brunswick, doncha know) but he and Jane Fonda did make the beast with two backs during the filming of Klute, just so you know.

By the way, if you don't know what is meant by "beast with two backs" go read Othello, Act I, scene 1 line 126. If you still don't get it, go find a missionary to show you.

Well anyway, the original Benjamin Frankin Pierce chimes in on Senator Clinton:

It is incomprehensible to me that Mrs. Clinton can seriously be touting the notion, with the support of the punditocracy of CNN and Fox, that she is leading in the popular vote and should therefore be seriously considered as the most electable candidate in the November election. She's including those who voted for her in Florida and Michigan's name recognition ballot saying that to exclude them would be to disenfranchise them. What about the Democrats in Alaska, American Samoa, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Nebraska, Washington, Hawaii and Wyoming who did not cast ballots because they were playing by the pledged delegates playbook and voted by caucus. What about them? Certainly if the rules are going to be changed and judgment is based on the 'popular' vote those voters in the eleven caucus states and Samoa will be disenfranchised. What about them?

And what about us? What about the American people? Haven't we had enough of Mrs. Clinton's mad antics in her pursuit of the realization of venal personal ambition; her 'say anything, do anything, no matter what' effort to manipulate our all too willing media to gull this country's populace into believing that her wretched illegitimacy is indeed legitimate. How much mendacity do we have to suffer, how much brazenness do we have to swallow before someone, anyone, has the decency, the common sense, to relieve us of this terrible trifle, this pathetic madness?

YOU wanna argue with Jack Bauer's dad??

I don't.

McClellan's Book

It's not even in the bookstores yet (that won't happen until June 2) and it's already creating a firestorm for dubya and his administration. I thought it might be good to take a look at some revelations from the book.

On the war

(From Washington Post):
In Iraq, Bush saw his opportunity to create a legacy of greatness. Intoxicated by the influence and power of America, Bush believed that a successful transformation of Iraq could be the linchpin for realizing his dream of a free Middle East. But there was a problem here, which has become obvious to me only in retrospect...Bush and his advisers knew that the American people would almost certainly not support a war launched primarily for the ambitious purpose of transforming the Middle East.
Rather than open this Pandora's box, the administration chose a different path -- not employing out-and-out deception but shading the truth; downplaying the major reason for going to war and emphasizing a lesser motivation that could arguably be dealt with in other ways (such as intensified diplomatic pressure); trying to make the WMD threat and the Iraqi connection to terrorism appear just a little more certain, a little less questionable, than they were; quietly ignoring or disregarding some of the crucial caveats in the intelligence and minimizing evidence that pointed in the opposite drection; using innuendo and implication to encourage Americans to believe as fact some things that were unclear and possibly false (such as the idea that Saddam had an active nuclear weapons program) and other things that were overplayed or completely wrong (such as implying Saddam might have an operational relationship with al Qaeda).
I'll take it one step further than McClellan here. By trying to make a case "a little more certain" they were lying. Even if everything they said was the absolute truth (which, as wel all know, it wasn't) by presenting something to be true when they knew it wasn't cleart that it was true, that's a lie.

A lie that lead to 4,000+ American servicemen and women dying.

On the leaking of Valerie Plame's name to the press
From the AP:

And McClellan recalled a day in April 2006, when the unfolding perjury case against Libby revealed that the president had secretly declassified portions of a 2002 intelligence report about Iraq's weapons capabilities to help his aides deflect criticism that his case for war was weak. Some of the most high-profile criticism was coming from Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson.

The president was leaving an event in North Carolina, McClellan recalled, and as they walked to Air Force One a reporter yelled out a question: Had the president, who had repeatedly condemned the selective release of secret intelligence information, enabled Scooter Libby to leak classified information to The New York Times to bolster the administration's arguments for war?

McClellan took the question to the president, telling Bush: "He's saying you yourself were the one that authorized the leaking of this information."

"And he said, 'Yeah, I did.' And I was kind of taken aback," McClellan said.

I was curious to see what event that was in April, 2006. As far as I can tell, it was this one at Central Piedmont Community College.

Curious thing happened at that Town Hall meeting - Harry Taylor happened:

Then came Taylor, 61, a commercial real estate broker, who got Bush's attention from the balcony.

"You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that," Taylor told him. "But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food."

Bush interrupted with a smile. "I'm not your favorite guy," he joked, provoking laughter.

"What I want to say to you," Taylor continued, "is that I, in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by, my leadership in Washington."

Many in the audience booed.

"Let him speak," Bush said.

"I feel like, despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration," Taylor added.

Bush took it in stride but offered no regrets. In response, he dealt only with the National Security Agency program to eavesdrop without court approval on telephone calls and e-mails between people inside the United States and people overseas when one person is suspected of terrorist ties.

"I'm not going to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program, and I'll tell you why," Bush said, launching into his explanation of how he approved the program to avoid another Sept. 11. "If we're at war," he said, "we ought to be using tools necessary within the Constitution on a very limited basis, a program that's reviewed constantly, to protect us."

So in the same day he's crowing about committing a felony (and that is what he did by bypassing the FISA court with his warrantless wiretapping) he admitted to Scott McClellan that he authorized releasing Valerie Plame's name to the press.

On dubya's Coke use

From Time:

McClellan tracks Bush's penchant for self-deception back to an overheard incident on the campaign trail in 1999 when the then-governor was dogged by reports of possible cocaine use in his younger days.

The book recounts an evening in a hotel suite "somewhere in the Midwest." Bush was on the phone with a supporter and motioned for McClellan to have a seat.

"'The media won't let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,' I heard Bush say. 'You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember.'"

"I remember thinking to myself, How can that be?" McClellan wrote. "How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn't make a lot of sense."

Bush, according to McClellan, "isn't the kind of person to flat-out lie."

"So I think he meant what he said in that conversation about cocaine. It's the first time when I felt I was witnessing Bush convincing himself to believe something that probably was not true, and that, deep down, he knew was not true," McClellan wrote.

"And his reason for doing so is fairly obvious — political convenience."

So let's assume dubya was telling the truth there. That meant he was so drunk he had no idea he was committing a felony.

Now if only that information was known in 1999.

As if we didn't already know

With all the fallout from Scott McClellan's new book, it's good to see some of the shitstorm raining down on the media. Jessica Yellin (currently of CNN) telling how MSNBC execs, um, "shaped" her stories leading up to the War on Iraq:

(h/t to Michael Calderone's Blog)

say it ain't so

Melissa at Shakesville on why Jim Webb would be a monumentally stupid pick for VP for Barack Obama.

May 28, 2008

Jessica Not Britney

Forget about the banners, the "who buys the tickets" and the bodyguards. Forget even missing a Memorial Day ceremony while the country is at war.

Considering that the Penguins lost when Lil Mayor Luke went to Detroit, perhaps he's the Jessica Simpson of the NHL instead of the Britney Spears of whatever.

Reality Check

This post is by way of an answer to some comments here.

OK, looks like it's time for Maria's Reality Check on FL & MITM

You want the Democratic nominee to win in November, right? Then why in the hell would you try to antagonize the voters in two big states? And trust me, voters -- especially in Florida -- are EXTREMELY PISSED. How do I know this? I know this because I've been speaking to hundreds of them weekly (on behalf of the DNC, the DSCC and the DCCC) for nine months now. I talk to the ones who give thousands to these groups, but mostly I talk to the ones who give $15 or $20 a year. And they don't give a rat's ass about how or why -- they just want their votes to be counted.

They feel like it's 2000 all over again. (Anyone else see the brilliant HBO movie Recount this weekend?) It was the Florida Republican legislature who moved up the election, not the voters. The voters themselves feel hurt and abandoned.

Also, go back and look at contemporaneous accounts back in August and you'll see that everyone (pols and media) assumed that the votes would eventually count because everyone knew that you couldn't afford to just piss away a couple of big states.

Moreover, look at the official long-standing DNC rules and you'll see that the punishment for defying the DNC was never taking away all the votes -- it at best suggests taking away half.

You assume -- probably correctly -- that Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee in November, no? What possible good comes out of knee-capping his candidacy? Because that's what the Democratic Party will be doing if they give the finger to the VOTERS by disenfranchising them. That's how THEY see it and it doesn't matter if YOU don't see it that way.

It would behoove Obama to make nice to these voters, be the big man -- even if it means that Hillary can make claims to a popular vote win -- by embracing the Florida, and yeah, even the Michigan delegate count. He can then go about making nice to blue collar voters, women and Hillary supports in general.

You want a President Obama? Then look at the bigger picture and goddamn count the goddamn votes of the goddamn voters.

I'll be in DC this Saturday advocating just that -- because no matter what -- I don't want a President McCain.

May 27, 2008

Some More (Less Visible) Casualties from Dubya's War

This past Sunday, McClatchy reported on the spike in suicides among the troops both in Iraq and those having returned from Iraq. First the facts:

According to the Army, more than 2,000 active-duty soldiers attempted suicide or suffered serious self-inflicted injuries in 2007, compared to fewer than 500 such cases in 2002, the year before the United States invaded Iraq.

A recent study by the nonprofit Rand Corp. found that 300,000 of the nearly 1.7 million soldiers who've served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or a major mental illness, conditions that are worsened by lengthy deployments and, if left untreated, can lead to suicide.

And story about Sgt. Brian Rand helicopter mechanic and casualty of dubya's war. His time in the Green Zone could not have been easy:

Once while wounded soldiers were being evacuated by helicopter in the Green Zone in central Baghdad, Rand waved at a man he knew. The man turned and Brian saw that half of the man's face was ripped off.

Brian later told his sister he was shocked by how white the bones looked under the flesh.

Then one day, while standing guard near the Green Zone, Rand killed an Iraqi man.

"The spirit of the man that he killed didn't leave him, it kept harassing him," Somdahl said of her brother. "He said this guy is following me around in the mess hall, he's trying to kill me. I told him to leave me alone but he says he wants to take me with him.'"

In spite of all that, the Pentagon sent him back to Iraq. He returned, according to the article, sometime in 2005 - and went back in November of that year. He finally made it back out in August, 2006 and killed himself 6 months later.

Then there's the story from the Fort Worth Star Telegram:

On July 11, 2007, in a violent Baghdad neighborhood, Master Sgt. Jeffrey R. McKinney killed himself. He put his M-4 rifle to his neck and pulled the trigger.

There was no Purple Heart, and the Defense Department announced it as a "non-combat-related incident."

But Jeffrey McKinney, 40, a company first sergeant and a 19-year Army veteran, is no less a casualty of the war in Iraq than the thousands of young men and women who have been killed by sniper fire and roadside bombs.

Some injuries just can't be seen.

Some facts:

Suicides hit a record high in the Army last year, and attempted suicides are up dramatically, most certainly because of the hardships of long and frequent tours away from home, the psychological stresses of guerrilla warfare, perhaps even the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries resulting from repeated concussions.

The Army and the Marine Corps have put in place numerous mental health programs, in Iraq and at bases stateside, to help troops deal with the fallout of combat. But Jeff McKinney and the 120 other soldier suicides last year are proof that the measures are falling far short of their intentions.

Senator McCain, by the way, says we're winning in Iraq.

Dubya, in his Memorial Day speech, only mentions three troops killed much earlier in his war:
  • Marine Captain Ryan Beaupre, killed 3/21/03
  • Marine Lance Corporal Darrell Schumann, killed 1/26/05
  • Army Sgt Michael Evans, killed 1/28/05

This is how dubya discussed Sgt Evans:

Army Sergeant Michael Evans of Marrero, Louisiana, felt the same way. He was killed on January 28th while on patrol in Western Baghdad. In his own farewell letter to his family, the 22-year-old reminded those he left behind to stay strong. He said: "My death will mean nothing if you stop now. I know it will be hard, but I gave my life so you could live. Not just live, but live free."

Notice anything interesting? He doesn't mention the year Sgt Evans was killed (2005) and so anyone listening or reading the transcript would assume that dubya was saying that Sgt Evans was killed this year.

It's a small point but the Sgt's message to his family (and by extension, the rest of us) would invariably mean something different if we knew it was made 4 instead of 40 months ago. Without knowing the Sgt was killed in early 2005, we're left to assume that he's imploring us all not to stop now. Now, after more than 4,000 dead rather than about 1,500.

No one knows what Sgt Evans would think about the war now. But without the inclusion of the year of his death, we're left with the impression that he'd want the war to continue now.

Dubya's speech writers had to know this (as for dubya himself, who knows?) and yet allowed this subtle manipulation of the truth to enter this speech.

I wonder how they sleep.

Looks like there's going to be a rally on Saturday

From CNN:
Clinton supporters to swarm DC over Florida and Michigan

(CNN) — Supporters of Hillary Clinton are planning to swarm the capital in a little over a week to pressure Democratic Party leaders as they gather to decide the fate of the Florida and Michigan delegations.

The Committee to Count Every Vote – a project of Hillary Responders – said Thursday it was organizing a day-long May 31 rally outside the hotel where members of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee are planning to meet that day.


“Our purpose is not to divide the party or attack the DNC or Senator Obama. Michigan and Florida, however, in addition to Hillary's strong support nationwide, cannot and must not be dismissed in DNC efforts to unify the party.”

Rally Info here.

When: May 31st – Meet at 7 am and rally until around 4 pm.
Where: Outside the Marriott-Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Rd, NW in Washington D.C.


May 28, 2008

The Bush-McCain Challenge
WHAT:'s Bush-McCain Challenge
WHEN: Wednesday, May 28, 2008, at 12:00 PM
WHERE: Schenley & Forbes (in front of hot dog stands, Pittsburgh PA

"Tomorrow, MoveOn members are making sure people in Pittsburgh know John McCain is just like George Bush. The Bush-McCain Challenge works like the old Pepsi-Coke Challenge—we'll ask passersby to guess whether a quote or position is Bush's or McCain's. It'll be lots of fun."

May 29, 2008

Cocktails for a Cause
WHAT: Planned Parenthood Western Pennsylvania Action Fund's Cocktails for a Cause
WHEN: Thursday, May 29, 7:00PM
WHERE: Firehouse Lounge, 2216 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

"Join us for Cocktails for a Cause to benefit Planned Parenthood of Western PA on Thursday, May 29th from 6 to 9pm at Firehouse Lounge, 2216 Penn Avenue in the Strip District."

May 26, 2008

The Clinton Thing - A Local Roundup

First the source material. Here's Senator Clinton stepping right in it:

Let me just say that I can't believe (won't believe) that Senator Clinton meant anything other than what she said she meant:
I made clear that I was - and that I thought the urgency to end the 2008 primary process was unprecedented. I pointed out, as I have before, that both my husband's primary campaign, and Sen. Robert Kennedy's, had continued into June.
Although, as Keith Olbermann pointed out in Friday'sspecial comment, Senator Clinton has previously used the "A-word.
She said, in an off-camera interview with Time on March 6, "Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June, also in California. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual. We will see how it unfolds as we go forward over the next three to four months."
In any case, whether it was calculated or inadvertant or taken out of context, it's simply a huge huge gaffe - probably a campaign-ending gaffe. A week or so after Senator Ted Kennedy is diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor a week or so before the anniversary of Senator Robert Kennedy's assassination why on earth would anyone bring it up?

Anyone with a brain bigger than Mark Madden's (which is most of the human race) of course. Here's what The Mouth said recently about Senator Ted:

"I'm very disappointed to hear that Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumor. I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated.

"I wonder if he got a card from the Kopechnes."

But I digress.

The Macyapper, while giving Senator Clinton less of the benefit of the doubt than I do nevertheless wrote:
Hillary should get out of the race. Because even if you buy the notion that she meant no harm and was simply drawing awkward but semi-valid historical comparisons of some sort, she's still completely full of shit.
Language, language Johnny-boy. You're writing a blog not scripting Dick Cheney's ad-libbed insults.

The Burgher is just "done forgiving" Senator Clinton.

Kyle E. Moore (over at Comments from Left Field) has "had enough."

DAYS after Senator Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, knowing full well the personal safety implications that her opponent faces being a black man running for president in a country where white supremicist hate groups still assemble, Senator Hillary Clinton references the assassination of Bobby Kennedy as one of the reasons SHE is still in this race.

Fuck it. She’s done. Eject this foul thing from our party, that is the only acceptable measure left for the Democratic establishment.

Again. Language, people, language! What is it with bloggers and foul language?

These days, however, Senator Clinton is actually blaming the controversy on (now wait for it) the Obama campaign:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign accused Sen. Barack Obama's campaign of fanning a controversy over her describing the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy late in the 1968 Democratic primary as one reason she is continuing to run for the presidency.

"The Obama campaign ... tried to take these words out of context," Clinton campaign chairman Terence R. McAuliffe said on "Fox News Sunday." "She was making a point merely about the time line."

The issue is particularly sensitive given longstanding concerns about Obama's safety as a presidential candidate. (He first received Secret Service protection last May.) The Obama campaign called Clinton's words unfortunate and circulated a TV commentary criticizing them, although Obama himself said Saturday that he took Clinton at her word that she meant no harm.
This, by the way, is Terry McCauliffe.

Consider the source.

May 25, 2008

One Political Junkie On OffQ This Friday

I'm sitting in for Valerie McDonald Roberts on OffQ this Friday.

It's on WQED-13 at 7:30.

If you miss it, you can catch it online here.

Jack Kelly Sunday

It's Sunday. It's an election season. So if you're wondering whether our friend Jack Kelly can be expected to spin, manipulate and smear the leading Democratic candidate, the answer drops with a resounding wet thud of a yes.

He gets musical in this week's column. In doing so, he unloads (the way a cow unloads) a few steaming piles of, well you know.

He begins:
What should be the theme song for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign?

Some think it should be Carly Simon's 1972 smash hit, "You're So Vain," (I bet you think this speech is about you).

Most of us have a higher opinion of ourselves than objective circumstances warrant. But in few of us is the gap between how we view ourselves and reality as wide as it is with Mr. Obama.
Aside from the obvious (and, sorry to say, juvenile) cheap shot of calling a politician vain, I'm not sure where Jack is heading here, quoting as he does one of the masterpieces of late 20th century pop-culture.

Perhaps the intended irony of the song is lost on Jack. You see, the subject of the song is chided for being "so vain" for probably thinking the song is about him - and yet, as we all know, it is about him.

Next, Jack goes into Senator Obama's bio:
Barack Obama is a bright, handsome, personable guy who gives a good speech (when he's working from a prepared text). But he's never actually done much of anything. The biggest tic on his resume to date is that he was president of the Harvard Law Review. That's impressive, but not exactly the stuff of Churchill, Roosevelt or Reagan, guys who could turn a phrase, too. Mr. Obama's self regard is such that he already has written two autobiographical books.
Let's get a little more reality into this paragraph. Jack says Obama's "never done actually much of anything." Let's see, what did Jack leave out? That's right. Senator Obama was a State Senator in Illinois for 6 years after being a community activist in Chicago. Jack also leaves out that Senator Obama was the first African American to be president of the Harvard Law Review and that he graduated magna cum laude.

Says so right here.

So yea, that's not much of anything. Let me ask a question: what was dubya before 2000? He was a failure at business and Governor of Texas (where the Governorship has extremely limited powers) for just over one term. At least his father was Vice-President, head of the CIA, ambassador to China, head of the RNC, and a member of Congress.

Jack then takes the expected Jeremiah Wright swipe at Obama:
Little seems to annoy Mr. Obama more than when others do not hold him in as high esteem as he holds himself. Mr. Obama apparently was dozing in the pews when his pastor said America is no better than al-Qaida, and that our government created the AIDs virus to exterminate blacks. But his ears perked up when the Rev. Jeremiah Wright implied that he had been insincere in describing their relationship:

"That's a show of disrespect to me," Mr. Obama said.

Actually, no. Jack stepped in it big time with this one. Here's the full paragraph from which Jack creatively snipped:
But at a certain point, if what somebody says contradicts what you believe so fundamentally, and then he questions whether or not you believe it in front of the National Press Club, then that's enough. That's -- that's a show of disrespect to me. It's a -- it is also, I think, an insult to what we've been trying to do in this campaign. [emphasis added.]
Take a look. It wasn't about how Wright was describing the relationship but about how Wright was accusing Obama of not being sincere about his fundamental beliefs.

Doesn't anyone check Jack Kelly over there on the Boulevard of the Allies? At least to make sure he's in the correct ballpark? It's not that difficult. All you have to do is to ask, "did he really say that?" and if the answer is "No, not really" then you can't say he said what you said he said.

Jack follows with this:
A focus on himself and a hypersensitivity to perceived slights may explain why Mr. Obama thought President Bush was speaking about him when the president denounced appeasement in a speech to the Israeli parliament May 15.
There's a reason why Senator Obama might have thought dubya was speaking about him. The White House said so:
President Bush launched a sharp but veiled attack Thursday on Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats, suggesting they favor "appeasement" of terrorists in the same way some Western leaders appeased Hitler in the run-up to World War II.

The president did not name Obama or any other Democrat, but White House aides privately acknowledged the remarks were aimed at the presidential candidate and others in his party. Former President Jimmy Carter has called for talks with Hamas. [emphasis added.]

Before denying it, as Jack writes:
"I understand when you are running for office sometimes you think the world revolves around you," responded White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. "That is not always true, and it is not true in this case."
So the White House is lying or the White House is lying. Big surprise.

Then Jack writes:
Mr. Obama's prolonged response to the Knesset speech -- one of the largest unforced errors I've seen in politics -- suggests another candidate for campaign theme song, Sam Cooke's 1960 ditty, "Wonderful World." The opening lyric is: "Don't know much about history."

In arguing to reporters that face-to-face meetings with America's enemies without preconditions isn't appeasement, Mr. Obama claimed President Kennedy's summit meeting with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna helped defuse the Cuban missile crisis.

The Vienna summit took place in June of 1961, the Cuban missile crisis in October of 1962.

Again when we go see what Senator Obama really said, we can see the full extent of Jack Kelly's spin. Here's what Obama really said:
This whole notion of not talking to people, it didn't hold in the '60s, it didn't hold in the '70s, it didn't hold in the '80s, it didn't hold in the '90s against much more powerful adversaries, much more dangerous adversaries. I mean, when Kennedy met with Khrushchev, we were on the brink of nuclear war. When Nixon met with Mao, that was with the knowledge that Mao had exterminated millions of people.
Tell me, please someone tell me, where Senator Obama mentioned the Cuban missile crisis? Does anyone (anyone rational, that is) believe that we weren't on the brink of nuclear war a year and a half before the Cuban missile crisis?

Again, doesn't anyone actually read Jack's column before they're published? It would be a whole lot less embarrassing for him if they checked his "facts" before they oozed - pasty manure like - out into the public.

May 23, 2008

Might as well ask why does the sun rise

. . . by lying once again and blaming City Council.

In an editorial today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette states:
What isn't clear is just why Mayor Luke Ravenstahl ended up blaming council for the decision to forgo the banners.
We think it's moot at this point to wonder why Lil Mayor Luke would lie about a couple of banners when he's lied so very often on so very many things.

The Busman's Holiday has the emails here and here.

Much more can be found at The Burgh Report on the banners as well as on Lil Mayor Luke being (gasp!) forced to buy his own Penguins tickets (PittGirl all over this too).

May 22, 2008

Lil Ricky (Santorum) is STILL Writing?

Via Thinkprogress, I found Rick Santorum's latest column. It should be no surprise to anyone that he's decided to vent his spleen about the California Supreme Court's recent decision regarding gay marriage.

At first blush, I don't know why this guy's panties are in a twist. I thought conservatives were all in favor of States Rights. A State Supreme Court made a decision concerning a state law. Shouldn't that end the dilemma for Rick?

Apparently not.

But before we start to deconstruct Lil Ricky, let's set down some facts about the California Supreme Court. There are seven members of the court and only one, Moreno, was appointed by a Democrat. That means all the rest were appointed by Republicans - Republican Pete Wilson appointed George, Chin and Werdegar, Duekmejian appointed Baxter and Kennard, and Schwarzenegger appointed Korrigan.

Rick begins:
Bigot! Hate-monger! Homophobe!

Those were just a few of the terms hurled my way in 2003 when I said that the Supreme Court's Texas sodomy decision opened the door to the redefinition of marriage.

When I wasn't ducking the epithets, I was being laughed at, mocked, and given the crazy-uncle-at-the-holidays treatment by the media. Or I was being told I should resign from my leadership post by some Senate colleagues.

Five years later, do I regret sounding the alarm about marriage? No.

Here's the decision, by the way. I'm not a lawyer, but I think (THINK) this is an important sentence from early in that decision:
Held: The Texas statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct violates the Due Process Clause.
Another state supreme court deciding another state law. Another time Mr States' Rights Conservative disliked it. Interesting, if you recall that back then, when asked:
[I]f somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?
Rick answered:
We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you — this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.
So according to Lil Ricky, allowing sodomy, even in private among consenting adults, should not be permitted because it's antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family. "Traditional" being the most important word there, I should think. He's not arguing in favor of merely healthy stable families. If so, he'd be in favor (or at least silent) about the California decision - for surely there are healthy stable marriages with two men or two women. No Rick's looking to make sure it's a traditional family that's supported here.

Traditional - as long as he's the one who gets to define the term.

Anyway, I thought conservatives valued individual freedom and fairness? Apparently not, if Rick's mode of conservatism is any indication.

Next he showers us with his golden knowledge of Constitutional law:
The latest distressing news came last week in California. The state Supreme Court there ruled, 4-3, that same-sex couples can marry.

In doing so, four judges rejected a statute that passed in a referendum with 61 percent of the vote that defined marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

It's merely the latest in a string of court decisions that have overturned the overwhelming will of the people.

"Checks and Balances" apparently don't hold much sway with Rick Santorum. If it was the "overwhemling will of the people" to double the taxes of atheists (in order, of course, to discourage such disgusting non-belief among the citizens of this "Christian nation") would that alone make it Constitutional?

I'm not a lawyer and I know that answer. Apparently Rick Santorum doesn't.

Next Rick crunches some numbers:
Look at Norway. It began allowing same-sex marriage in the 1990s. In just the last decade, its heterosexual-marriage rates have nose-dived and its out-of-wedlock birthrate skyrocketed to 80 percent for firstborn children. Too bad for those kids who probably won't have a dad around, but we can't let the welfare of children stand in the way of social affirmation, can we?
But are those numbers accurate? Let's take a look at the numbers from Norway:
Altogether 50 per cent of all children are now born out of wedlock, compared with just over 3 per cent in the 1950s. The greatest increase was registered in the 1970s and 1980s, but this has now evened out. The vast majority of these births are to parents who live together, while 9 per cent are born to single mothers. However, in the case of the first child, 52 per cent are born to parents who live together and 13 per cent to single mothers. When the second child comes along, the parents are more likely to be married.
They even have a chart to look at:

Percentage of children born outside marriage

First thing, 50% is not exactly 80%. Apparently Rick Santorum doesn't know that. Second thing, the increase took place in the 70s and 80s. Apparently, Rick Santorum doesn't know that, either. And third thing, to the Norwegians "out of wedlock" includes those couples actually living together. According to them, only 9% of those born are born to single mothers. Apparently Rick Santorum doesn't know that either.

Tell me again why he's writing a column in Philadelphia?

Apparently he doesn't actually know what he's talking about.

May 21, 2008

Dueling Editorials

Today, the Trib's editorial board takes on their counterparts at the P-G.

It's in a discussion of Senator Obama's statement last July at the Youtube/CNN debate that he'd be willing to meet separately (and without conditions) with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. By the way, here's what Senator Obama said. This is what started all those "appeasement" smears:
I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous. Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.
As David Corn points out, the answer wasn't as nuanced as it should have been.

Both Senator Clinton and Senator Edwards responded to the same question, saying that diplomacy is important but that it should start out with low-mid level contacts and then maybe move up. Here's Senator Clinton:

Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are. I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes. I don't want to make a situation even worse. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration. And I will purse very vigorous diplomacy.

And I will use a lot of high-level presidential envoys to test the waters, to feel the way. But certainly, we're not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and, you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria until we know better what the way forward would be.

Fair enough. But as George H. W. Bush's Secretary of State said:

Transcription from Fox "News":
My view is that you don't just talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies, as well. And the diplomacy involves talking to your enemies. You don't reward your enemies ... necessarily, by talking to them if you're tough and you know what you're doing. You don't appease them. Talking to an enemy is not, in my view, appeasement. I made 15 trips to Syria in 1990-1991 at a time when Syria was on the list of countries who are state sponsors of terrorism. And the 16th trip, guess what? Lo and behold, Syria changed 25 years of policy and agreed for the first time in history to come sit at the table with Israel, which is what Israel wanted at the time. And, thereby, implicitly recognized Israel's right to exist.
So what did The Trib have to say? Here it is:
Even top Democrats are distancing themselves from Barack Obama's pledge to, without conditions, engage in talks with our enemies. Mr. Obama has attempted to nuance his position -- low-level diplomacy would precede high-level talks -- but the damage has been done and political foes are correct to exploit it. ... Ever on the wrong side of rational thought, The Toledo, Ohio, Block Bugler editorializes that "it's hard to argue that a more civil approach to the nation's enemies wouldn't be more successful." So that's what negotiating with terrorists is -- "a more civil approach"? Yet again, logic continues to be on extended holiday at The Bugler.
Note they don't say which Democrats are distancing themselves. Nor do they note the Republicans who think diplomacy is a good thing (like Secretary Baker, above). But look again at what they quote from the P-G:'s hard to argue that a more civil approach to the nation's enemies wouldn't be more successful.
And how they criticise it:
So that's what negotiating with terrorists is -- "a more civil approach"? Yet again, logic continues to be on extended holiday at The Bugler.
Now where does that quotation come from?

Here. It's the editorial from Monday the 19th. Here's the passage in full:
During a Democratic debate last year, Mr. Obama signaled his willingness to talk with North Korea, Syria, Cuba and Iran without preconditions. After years of failed unilateral action and cowboy diplomacy Bush-style, it's hard to argue that a more civil approach to the nation's enemies wouldn't be more successful.
It's easy to see the misdirection The Trib is trying to pull off. The point of the P-G's editorial was that a more civil approach (that is to say, diplomacy) has to be more successful than Bush's failed "cowboy diplomacy."

The Trib missed the point (or maybe they were looking to change the subject). In any event, we can't expect the Trib's editorial board to understand such a complicated sentence.


From CNN -

Total number of delegates won

Clinton 1,770
Obama 1,953

Pledged Delegates (from primaries and caucuses)

Clinton 1,493
Obama 1,648


Clinton 277
Obama 305

Needed to get to 2,026

Clinton 256
Obama 73

Delegates still up for grabs

325 (111 pledged and 215 super)

May 20, 2008

Sen. Kennedy has malignant brain tumor

From the Associated Press:
BOSTON - A cancerous brain tumor caused the seizure Sen. Edward M. Kennedy suffered over the weekend, doctors said Tuesday in a grim diagnosis for one of American politics' most enduring figures.

Doctors for the Massachusetts Democrat say tests conducted after Kennedy suffered a seizure this weekend show a tumor in his left parietal lobe. Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma.His treatment will be decided after more tests but the usual course includes combinations of radiation and chemotherapy.


Malignant gliomas are a type of brain cancer diagnosed in about 9,000 Americans a year — and the most common type among adults. It's a starting diagnosis: How well patients fare depends on what specific tumor type is determined by further testing.

Average survival can range from less than a year for very advanced and aggressive types — such as glioblastomas — or to about five years for different types that are slower growing.

McCain 'kind of like Jesus'

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Columbus — Georgia Republican Party chairwoman Sue Everhart said Saturday that the party's presumed presidential nominee has a lot in common with Jesus Christ.

"John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross," Everhart said as she began the second day of the state GOP convention. "He never denounced God, either."
She later said, "I'm not trying to compare John McCain to Jesus Christ" and still later added, "I don't know what 'like' or 'compare' mean."

May 18, 2008

Jack Kelly Sunday

In this week's column, Jack Kelly revisits Moqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army.

It's been only about a month and a half since his most recent column about "Mookie" and the Army (and here's my deconstruction of it).

He does his usual spin and his point, I would imagine - seeing as it's in the headline, is to point out:
  1. How relatively unimportant Moqtada al-Sadr is and
  2. How the media isn't saying that.
Indeed, here's his first sentence:
Few foreign leaders have received as favorable news coverage in the United States as has Moqtada al-Sadr, with less factual basis for it.
So let's see what the experts have to say about al-Sadr. At the Council on Foreign Relations, there's a slightly different story. While pointing out some downward trends in the numbers of the militia and the inconsistent revenue stream funding it, the Mahdi army is described (at a page updated only two days ago on May 16, 2008) this way:
Vali R. Nasr, a CFR adjunct senior fellow and expert in Shiite politics, says that by 2008 Muqtada had expanded his movement from being essentially a Baghdad street force into "a major Shiite movement, with parliamentary presence, political presence, as well as now a very large military presence on the street." Nasr says Sadr "now represents one of the two most important Shia blocs in the country." Yet Sadr is not alone in vying for the popular support of Iraqi Shiites. His chief rivals—including the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party—command support from the country's more conservative middle class. Some experts say clashes between Mahdi fighters, Iraqi forces, and ISCI's Badr Brigade are essentially a class struggle.
They also point out that estimates of Sadr's support base range from 3 million to 5 million.

In the course of his column, Jack also quotes Nibras Kazimi of the New York Sun. Not the first time he's used Kazimi as a source. Also not the first time he's described Kazimi with just:
a resident scholar at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.
Not the first time he's omitted Kazimi's connection to the Iraqi National Congress (as listed in his bio at the Hudson Institute):
Nibras Kazimi is a visiting scholar at the Hudson Institute. He also writes a weekly column on the Middle East for the New York Sun. Previously, he directed the Research Bureau of the Iraqi National Congress in Washington DC and Baghdad, and was a pro-bono advisor for the Higher National Commission for De-Ba'athification, which he helped establish and staff.
Do I need to point out again how much good research came out of the Iraqi National Congress in the run up to dubya's war? Or what a good idea the de-Ba'athification of Iraq was?

A good example of Kelly's spinning happens here:

The sporadic fighting has gone badly for the Mahdi Army, which has lost nearly 600 men in Sadr City. This is why Mookie agreed to a conditional surrender on May 10. The Mahdi Army will cease all attacks. Iraqi government forces can enter Sadr City to serve arrest warrants and seize medium and heavy weapons, though the Sadrists may keep their small arms.

If the terms are lived up to, the Mahdi Army will have lost its last stronghold in Iraq. But in an amazing reprise of the bogus Basra narrative, some journalists described this conditional surrender as a victory for Mookie.

"Al-Sadr wins another round," said Mark Kukis of Time Magazine. Mookie "is still controlling the agenda tactically and politically," he said.

Here's Kukis' article from Time. Kukis writes about another hastily drawn up ceasefire and adds:
Details of the cease-fire remain largely unclear beyond an immediate end to the battles that have displaced thousands of residents from the Mahdi Army stronghold of Sadr City, a vast slum home to more than 2 million people.

In announcing the deal, al-Sadr aide Sheik Salah al-Obeidi said the agreement, "stipulates that the Mahdi Army will stop fighting in Sadr City and will stop displaying arms in public. In return, the government will stop random raids against al-Sadr followers and open all closed roads that lead to Sadr City."

Al-Obeidi, who issued a statement from the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, added: "This document does not call for disbanding al-Mahdi Army or laying down their arms."

The fact that a leading figure in al-Sadr's ranks announced the deal and pointedly rejected the Iraqi government's key demand to disarm suggests that the cleric is still controlling the agenda tactically and politically despite the most serious challenge his power the Iraqi government could muster.

Which is somewhat different from what Jack wrote.

But that's our Jack.

Cracked Windows at Planned Parenthood, Downtown

On Saturday (yesterday) I happened to be walking down Liberty Avenue about 1pm. Passing by the Planned Parenthood clinic, I saw this:

Here's a closer view:

Anyone have any idea what broke the window?

With all the security at the clinic I would assume that whatever happened, the authorities were notified immediately. However, I googled the local news and found no mention of anything.

Anyone know what's going on?

UPDATE: Chris Potter of the City Paper added a comment that I wanted to elevate up to the posting. Here it is:
One of the City Paper staff noticed this as well. But PPWP assures us that it was just a drunken accident on some pedestrian's part.
End of story. Thanks, Mr Potter!

May 16, 2008

March and Rally for Darfur

The Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition is holding a march and rally this Sunday:

Actually, you'll need to click HERE to sign up.

Melissa Hart Rewrites Her Own Political History

Our favorite former Housemember, Melissa Hart, stopped by The Conversation this week to have a chat with the tie-dyed, long-haired, commie-pinko, hippie freak, Bill Toland.

And Missy tries to rewrite her own political history in the first coupla minutes. The interesting stuff happens early on when Toland asks about the current national political climate. Here's a transcript of that part of The Conversation:

BT: It's been bad so far for republicans. Lost special elections in Mississippi, Illinois and now Louisiana. Is it a bad year for you guys? Are you hoping that'll turn around, I'm assuming, by November?

MH: Well first of all I think the Republican brand has been damaged. I don't know all the specifics of the local issues that were involved in those races. You know our race is a local race. There's six counties here that need to elect a congressman and hopefully that'll be me. My goal is to go back and reemphasize with folks the positions I take on issues. Where I stand. The priorities I have for the region. And how hard I work. A lot of folks are behind me in that campaign.

BT Why do you think that message didn't resonate two years ago?

MH: In 2006 I think it was a national election. You saw just across the board the president being unpopular, the war really putting people on edge – and appropriately. Questions that they had about current leadership. Scandals with some congressman taking bribes. Congressmen sending sexual e-mails to children. I mean, come on -

BT: That does hurt, yea.

MH: - that's not a good thing. People should be held responsible for that. I served on the ethics committee and we did hold them responsible for that. [emphasis added.]

So Melissa Hart now thinks that it was "appropriate" that the war put people on edge in 2006.

But take a look at what she was saying before the 2006 election.

It's June of 2006 and Henry Hyde has introduced House Resolution 861 that declares in part:
that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq;
That meant, back then, that the House would not favor any date being set to bring the troops back home. In fact the resolution:
declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq
There it is. No timeline for withdrawal and the troops will stay there until Iraq is safe and secure (How's that going, Missy? Just asking.) This Resolution is exactly the sort of stuff that put the electorate on edge back in 2006. And guess who voted in favor of that resolution? That's right. Melissa Hart, along with most of the Republicans in the House. Take a look.

Any wonder why they were voted out of power?

But there's more. Keep in mind that now she says it's appropriate for the voters back then to have been on edge about the war. But in her supporting statements for H.Res 861 (found here at the invaluable C-Span archives) she has a very different outlook on those opposing dubya's war.

Here's what she said:

As I traveled with seven colleagues earlier this year to visit our troops in the Middle East and Central Asia, I learned a great deal about the American spirit, the spirit of our volunteer servicemen and women and what drives them to risk it all. It is the defense of freedom. It is the understanding that vigilance and sacrifice are requirements for our Nation's security.

Back home in the comfort of their living rooms though, many Americans lack that focus. They forgot about Iraq's violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and the mounting incidence of attacks on our Nation leading up to 9/11. They began to loudly dissent and doubt and distract from our mission in Iraq.

One of the generals who I spoke with while I was in Kuwait took the opportunity in a quiet conversation to ask a very pointed question. He said, is America fighting this war, or is it just our military who is fighting this war?

We today, together with all Americans, must answer that general's thoughtful question. We must answer it for him, for ourselves, for the rest of the world, but especially for our enemies, so they know America is truly committed to liberty and the victory of civility and opportunity for all who love freedom and support democracy.

These enemies have long been committed to robbing the world of liberty. The United States and others have been targets of these terrorists many times leading up to 9/11 because of our commitment to the ideal of freedom. These enemies include regimes which harbor terrorists, but most especially those loosely connected terrorist organizations operating outside a national framework who share an ideology of oppression, tyranny, control, hatred resentment. They value no life, no man, no woman, no child.

We Americans cannot continue to be free if we spend all our time questioning our mission. Many Americans want to debate the validity of prewar intelligence or weapons of mass destruction. Whether one nation or another supported al Qaeda, how many troops do we need? Americans have to look beyond the tactical challenges.

We must do as Tony Blair did. The people who are fighting us, he said, know what is at stake. The question is, do we?

Notice the insulting jabs at the people "back home in the comfort of their living rooms" "distracting" from "our mission in Iraq." She's charges that the people questioning the war didn't know what's at stake. She charges that the people questioning the war weren't committed to liberty. She charges that we cannot continue to be free if we spend all our time questioning the mission, and that the debate on prewar intelligence and WMD were just "tactical challenges" we have to "look beyond."

And now those dissents are ok.

She needs to explain her flip-flop.

Bush plays the Nazi Card against Obama/Democrats

From The New York Times:
JERUSALEM — President Bush used a speech to the Israeli Parliament on Thursday to liken those who would negotiate with “terrorists and radicals” to appeasers of the Nazis — a remark widely interpreted as a rebuke to Senator Barack Obama, who has advocated greater engagement with countries like Iran and Syria.
My thoughts on this:

1) Bonus points for playing the Nazi Card in Israel!
2) Considering that Bush's grandfather helped Hitler's rise to power, he should know a lot about nazis!
3) Bush is starting to sound like vintage Santorum!

Closing in on Rove

From CBS News The Politico:
(The Politico) Just off the House floor today, the Crypt overheard House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers tell two other people: "We're closing in on Rove. Someone's got to kick his ass."

Asked a few minutes later for a more official explanation, Conyers told us that Rove has a week to appear before his committee. If he doesn't, said Conyers, "We'll do what any self-respecting committee would do. We'd hold him in contempt. Either that or go and have him arrested."

Conyers said the committee wants Rove to testify about his role in the imprisonment of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, among other things.

"We want him for so many things, it's hard to keep track," Conyers said.


"I do it sometimes with all kinds of people" (who do not have penises)

"It's not Tootsie or Toots or Sweetie or Honey or Doll."

Yes, Sen. Obama called a female reporter who was just trying to do her job '"sweetie":

Yes, he apologized:
"Second apology is for using the word 'sweetie.' That's a bad habit of mine. I do it sometimes with all kinds of people. I mean no disrespect and so I am duly chastened on that front. Feel free to call me back. I expect that my press team will be happy to try to make it up to you whenever we are in Detroit next."
Yes, he's done this before to another women who was just trying to do her job:
While flirting with female factory workers in Allentown, he called one "sweetie," a paternalistic way to address a woman if there ever was one. It might have worked had he been trying to do his best imitation of Lily Tomlin's Ernestine, the telephone operator, but this was no spoof. This was Obama trying to relate to working-class women in a way that went directly south.
And, yes, it is a problem.


In all the articles and opinion pieces rightfully condemning those in West Virginia who said that race was a factor in their decision to not vote for Sen. Obama, I don't recall this exit poll stat making much (any?) news:

About one in five Clinton voters said gender was an important factor in their vote. Nearly as many Obama voters said that.
Perhaps we'll see a skit this weekend on Saturday Night Live where an actor playing Barack Obama says, "My supporters are misogynists."

(No, I'm not holding my breath.)


"At least I'm not racist" Cartoon

"Misogyny I Won't Miss"


California's top court overturns gay marriage ban

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The California Supreme Court struck a historic but possibly short-lived blow for gay rights Thursday, overturning a state law that allowed only opposite-sex couples to marry.

In a 4-3 ruling that elicited passionate responses on both sides of the debate and touched off celebrations at San Francisco City Hall - the scene of nearly 4,000 same-sex weddings four years ago that were invalidated months later - the court said the right to marry in California extends equally to all, gay and straight alike.
Additional Story:
Tears of joy as same-sex marriage advocates get the word

May 15, 2008

Should we call this "Golf-gate"?

Remember this?

More lying from dubya. Check this out from the Washington Post. First the set-up that everyone knows by now:

The nation is in despair over the war in Iraq and the toll it is taking on our troops and their families. But President Bush shows no outward sign of inner pain.

He is chipper in his public pronouncements. His weekly bike rides and daily workouts have put a perpetual spring in his step. He's always ready with a wisecrack. He just hosted his daughter's wedding at his multi-million dollar estate in Texas. He takes more vacations than any president in history. He has made clear that he doesn't lie awake at nights.

And yet now it turns out that Bush has indeed made a personal sacrifice on account of the war. According to the president yesterday, his decision to stop playing golf five years ago wasn't just an exercise in image control or a function of his bum knee -- it was an act of solidarity with the families of the dead and wounded.

He gave up golf out of solidarity to the troops and their families (and I am sure they are all very grateful).

Only he didn't:

Not only is it a hollow, trivial sacrifice at best, Bush's story doesn't hold water. While he dates his decision to abjure golf to Aug. 19, 2003 -- the day a truck bomb in Baghdad killed U.N. special representative Sergio Vieira de Mello and more than a dozen others -- the Associated Press reported on Oct. 13, 2003, that he'd spent a "cool, breezy Columbus Day" playing "a round of golf with three long-time buddies.

"Bush played at Andrews Air Force Base with Clay Johnson, Office of Management and Budget deputy director, Richard Hauser, Department of Housing and Urban Development general counsel and another friend, Mike Wood."

On that outing, he was typically full of what passes for good humor at the White House. The AP reported: "'Fine looking crew you got there. Fine looking crew,' Bush joked to reporters. 'That's what we'd hope for presidential coverage. Only the best.'

"He hit a couple of practice balls before flaring his tee-off shot into the right rough."

By the way, he still rides his mountain bike and works out every day. I guess that doesn't send the wrong message.

By way of the Washington Post article you can find this at

Bush has spent more time on vacation than any other president - 453 days to be exact. He’s never attended a slain soldier’s funeral. He’s spent time fishing and endlessly clearing brush on his ranch, and attending his daughter’s lavish wedding, among other things. But golf? Well, that would just send the wrong signal to the thousands killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.

War supporters take note - put away your golf clubs. It’s just disrespectful.

But of course dubya carries the biggest burden for the war. The VP sed so:
Well, it obviously brings home, I think for a lot of people, the cost that's involved in the global war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. It places a special burden, obviously, on the families. We recognize, I think -- it's a reminder of the extent to which we're blessed with families who have sacrificed as they have. The President carries the biggest burden, obviously; he's the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans. But we are fortunate to have the group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm's way for the rest of us. You wish nobody ever lost their life, but unfortunately it's one of those things that go with living in the world we live in. Sometimes you have to commit military force, and when you do, there are casualties.
Yea, making the decision that ended up sending 4,000 to their deaths is so much worse than being among the families of those 4,000. Maybe they should think about taking up golf.

May 14, 2008

Edwards to Endorse Obama

From Talkingpointsmemo:

Obama spokesperson Tommy Vietor confirms that Edwards will indeed endorse Obama today.

Edwards couldn't have picked a safer time to endorse -- he did it after it became obvious that the nomination was largely a foregone conclusion. And he did it after Obama lost big in West Virginia, among just the sort of voters Edwards is supposed to have sway among.

While it's true that his endorsement could make a difference in Kentucky, the fact that he waited this long -- and did it after dropping repeated public hints that he would stay neutral -- suggests that this was less than a profile in courage on Edwards' part.

Late Update: On the other hand, if the Obama campaign held this to roll out after the West Virginia loss, which seems probable, the timing in some ways was shrewd.

Posted without comment.

Thanks, Crooks and Liars & Blue Gal!

David was away and I had a personal emergency which took me completely from my keyboard for four days so I missed this on Crooks and Liars on Friday night:

I only caught it today because I noticed a fivefold spike in our hits on Saturday and went looking.

I'm guessing that Blue Gal took the image from a screen capture of our header. The original graphic can be found at this post from back in December of 2005.

Gee, That's Nice

From the Politico:

For the first time, Bush revealed a personal way in which he has tried to acknowledge the sacrifice of soldiers and their families.

“I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” he said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

Bush said he made that decision after the August 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, which killed Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top U.N. official in Iraq and the organization’s high commissioner for human rights.

“I remember when de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man's life,” he said. “I was playing golf — I think I was in central Texas — and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, ‘It's just not worth it anymore to do.’"

That's right. Dubya's given up golf to "acknowledge the sacrifice" of the troops he sent to Iraq.

4,000 dead, tens of thousands maimed, even more suffering PTSD and to balance things out, dubya's decided not to hit a Titleist into a little hole in the grass.

Other dubya news from the same article:
The president said global warming has “been more clearly defined as a problem” during his eight years in office, and when asked if it is real, Bush said: “Yes, it is real; sure is.”
So now do I get to call Mike Pintek and quote dubya at him when he calls global warming a hoax?


May 13, 2008

Mother's Day Vote

Now this is weird. This is from the Washington Post:

It was already shaping up to be a difficult year for congressional Republicans. Now, on the cusp of Mother's Day, comes this: A majority of the House GOP has voted against motherhood.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House had just voted, 412 to 0, to pass H. Res. 1113, "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day," when Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), rose in protest.

"Mr. Speaker, I move to reconsider the vote," he announced.

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), who has two young daughters, moved to table Tiahrt's request, setting up a revote. This time, 178 Republicans cast their votes against mothers.

Here's the Resolution in question. It starts with a number of sentences that begin with a "Whereas..." and ends with:
Resolved, That the House of Representatives celebrates the role of mothers in the United States and supports the goals and ideals of Mother's Day.
And here's the vote to table the resolution. Curious about which Republicans from Pennsylvania voted against motherhood and Mother's Day?? Here's how they voted:

Phil English (PA-3) was among the 178
John Peterson (PA-5) was among the 178
Jim Gerlach (PA-6) was among the 178
Bill Shuster (PA-9) was among the 178
Charlie Dent (PA-15) was among the 178
Joseph Pitts (PA-16) was among the 178
Tim Murphy (PA-18) was among the 178
Todd Platt (PA-19) was among the 178

I think I got them all. Notice anything? It's the entire list of House Republicans from Pennsylvania.

Please, please, PLEASE someone tell me I made a mistake and that there's at least one House Republican from PA who wasn't a part of this stunt.

And considering the initial vote was unanimous, all those guys voted for Mother's Day before they voted against it.

UPDATE: I fixed the broken link.

May 12, 2008

I'm Ba-a-a-a-a-ck!

Anything happen since I blogged last?

Oh yea that's right, Senator Obama is now ahead of Senator Clinton in the superdelegate count 277-273 (numbers from CNN).

And as the Editors of The Nation write:
So is it over? It's fair to say yes.
Can we start talking about Senator McCain now?

May 9, 2008

State of the Nation

Not even phoning it in

Really? No, really??

From the Trib:
Former Pittsburgh Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle charged taxpayers for two plane tickets to Las Vegas even after prosecutors charged her in the kickback scheme that eventually sent her to prison.

An invoice showing the $726 round-trip tickets on a city-owned American Airline credit card shocked City Controller Michael Lamb, who refused Thursday to pay the eight-month-old bill.

I'm not going to pay it until I get a guarantee from the Law Department that they will pursue her for restitution," Lamb said.

The invoice, which Lamb received from the City's Clerk's office Tuesday, lists Carlisle and her mother, Constance B. Parker, as the passengers on the September flight.

Parker, 65, of Penn Hills couldn't recall the trip, and said she hadn't seen the bill. She said her daughter has paid her debt to society and should be left alone.

"How does this keep going on and on and on? Twanda is incarcerated. She is paying society back as best as she humanly can," Parker said during a phone interview. "Why is this one black woman being so ran through the media for two years on $43,000? All that money has been paid back."


Carlisle told City Clerk Linda Johnson-Wasler in October that she would reimburse the city for the plane tickets to Las Vegas, said City Council President Doug Shields.

Carlisle resigned from City Council in November and did not pay the bill as she had promised, Shields said. The invoice fell through the cracks, he said.


"I can't believe she did this," Shields said of Carlisle. "You shouldn't be using public funds to front your personal trip."
The article states that all City Council members were issued American Airline credit cards for travel prior to Act 47, but all the cards had been revoked except for Carlisle's and Peduto's (Shields is now planning to ask for Peduto's back).

We have no idea why they still had their cards, but wouldn't someone have wanted to -- oh, I don't know -- snatch back her card immediately after the indictments came down and perhaps cut it up in front of her?

Ms. Carlisle, may I see your card please? No, no, I have the City on the phone and I really need you to hand it over to me now. Thank you. [SNIP SNIP]

May 7, 2008


While Dayvoe is out, I am being hampered by needing to deal with dial-up for the next couple of days. I have something started on the primary race but likely won't get it posted until late tonight (after work).

Protecting America from a 98 year-old nun

Thank you, Supremes!

(And, don't forget that McSame has said that he wants to appoint more of the same to the court.)

PA Senate Tables Anti Gay Amendment

From the Post-Gazette:
HARRISBURG -- A bill that would amend the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage is in a deep coma and is probably dead, at least for the rest of this session.

Faced with staunch opposition to the measure in the Democrat-controlled House, the main sponsor, Sen. Michael Brubaker, R-Lancaster, asked the Senate last evening to table the bill indefinitely, and it agreed.
Sue has more on this.

Kudos to all who called their senators on this and a hat tip to Fumo for rubbing their noses in the "protection" excuse.

A Break

Well my friends, I just wanted to let you know that I'll be off-line for a few days.

Nothing exciting - I just decided to take a few days off, spend some quality time with the fiancee, catch up on my REM sleep, maybe finish the screenplay I've been working on (it's based on a novel by a man named Lear, and it's really great).

I'll be back early next week.




May 6, 2008

2PJ on the air!

If you were to listen to Fred Honsberger's show this afternoon at, say, about 5:20pm, you won't hear the usual Five O'Clock News Hour stuff.

No, no, no.

BOTH Maria and I will be on.

My guess is that Fred wants to talk to us about how some plumbing problems shut down the Canadian Government for a day.

Or maybe about the primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. I'm not sure.


From Equality Advocates Pennsylvania:
SB 1250, the anti-family constitutional amendment was voted out of the the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 5 and a full Senate vote can occur as soon as May 6. We need your help NOW!

Please call your state Senator and Representative on Tuesday and ask them to oppose SB 1250. To find out the name of your state legislators and their contact information, visit our Legislator Locater -- just enter your address, then click on the "state" tab above the legislators' pictures.

Please visit our website for updated information.

Thank you to everyone who attended today's rally! There were approximately 400 people who opposed the legislation in the Capitol rotunda. Senators Connie Williams, Jim Ferlo and Vince Fumo spoke against the bill, as well as Representatives Babette Josephs, Dan Frankel and Mike O'Brien. Senator Wayne Fontana and Representatives Steve Nickol, David Steil, Kathy Manderino and Mike Gerber were also in attendence.

Other speakers included members of the Value All Families Coalition: Stacey Sobel of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania; Karen Buck of the SeniorLAW Center; Rev. Paul Fullmer, Chaplain, Lebanon Valley Community College; Diane Topakian, SEIU; and Andy Hoover of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

Legislators, staffers and citizens heard and saw the rally. In fact, legislators said that they could hear the chants of "STOP THIS BILL" on the House floor.

Thank you to everyone who has called, written and visited your state legislators -- it truly makes a difference!
Much more on this issue can be found at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents including a list of local Senators:

Jay Costa: Harrisburg (717) 787-7683, Pittsburgh (412) 241-6690
Sean Logan: Harrisburg (717) 787-5580, Pittsburgh (412) 664-5200
Wayne Fontana: Harrisburg (717) 787-5300, Pittsburgh (412) 344-2551
John Pippy: Harrisburg (717) 787-5839, Pittsburgh (412) 262-2260
Jim Ferlo: Harrisburg (717) 787-6123, Pittsburgh (412) 621-3006
Jane Orie: Harrisburg (717) 787-6538, Pittsburgh (412) 630-9466 j
J. Barry Stout: Harrisburg (717) 787-1463, Pittsburgh (724) 225-5400 b
Gerald Lavelle: Harrisburg (717) 787-3076, Pittsburgh (724) 654-1444
Mary Jo White: Harrisburg (717) 787-9684, Pittsburgh (814) 432-4345
Donald C.White: Harrisburg (717) 787-8724, Pittsburgh (724) 357-0151
Robert D. Robbins: Harrisburg (717) 787-1322, Pittsburgh (724) 588-1323
Bob Regola: Harrisburg (717) 787-6063, Pittsburgh (724) 600-7002
Richard Kasunic: Harrisburg (717) 787-7175, Pittsburgh (724) 626-1611