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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Couric Still Looking For Bottom (Ratings wise that is....)

Every once in a while you get justification on something intellectually you know is just plain wrong. In this case for me it's the plight of Katie "Perky Soccer Mom Sensibilities" Couric. Putting aside the fact I simply can't stand this plastic fake of a human being I am enjoying watching CBS burn for this choice to reach out for the soccer mom sensibility demographic and change the face of network "we're shilling for the GOP" news.

And what pretell would sully and cloud my judgement about the perking cup of evening news that is now an evaporating 6:30pm demographic CBS is trying to stem? Back in 2000 during the heat of the Presidential election I had just stepped out of the shower getting ready for work when my T.V. suddenly announced to me Ms. perky girl Couric from her Today co-host chair was interviewing Dick Cheney. I don't quite remember the question she asked Cheney that elicited this reaction but I sure as hell remember Cheney's answer and Courics follow-up: "[Cheney] Well, that won't matter because Americans won't back that kind of foreign policy initiative, but the Democrats will surely put up a fight." So, you have Americans and then you have Democrats who are surely, according to Dick Cheney with that statement, NOT American. And Couric's follow up? "[Couric] Then why will the Democrats fight this?" Ah, nothing like validating a smear on half the country and smiling as you do it. Asking "Why won't the Democrats support this?" showed a tacit agreement with Cheney there are in fact "Americans" and "Democrats." I just wanted to kick my T.V. set in. Afterwards I spent the rest of the day seething, not at Dick Cheney, because one should expect this kind of vile framing from this lower case human being, but at Couric for validating it.

Now with CBS trying to bail water on this awful knee-jerk move to put Ms. Perky at the helm of Edward R. Murrow's legacy imagine my delight at reading how the backstage bickering is tearing the CBS news division asunder as they try to cut and run with this monumental disaster on their hands:

"So now Couric finds
herself tethered to what appears to be, if not a sinking ship, one taking on
water faster than anybody at CBS News knows how to bail. No wonder she's
undergone a minor image-reclamation project, suggesting in a magazine interview
that with perfect hindsight she might have balked at the challenge -- a
cry-me-a-river lament if there ever was one, coming from a multimillionaire
anchor as news divisions and newspapers hack their way toward

Heh. The advent of 24 hour news channels still has the major network news divisions shaking their heads after nearly two decades of falling ratings. They still don't get that the landscape has changed with online Internet communities bypassing their corporate biases while propping up the GOP.

Monday, July 30, 2007

John Edwards For President

In this latest video of a recent New Hampshire appearance by John Edwards he tells us the political system is rigged agaisnt the average American voter. If you include yourself in this camp you didn't need convincing, you were already there. Call this speech a populist message or whatever label you find appropriate. The average American voter has known the system's been rigged since the Reagan admininstration. Clinton still found it malleable enough to use the system to do good things. With the advent of the current occupants in the White House they took the system over the edge and made the rigging fool proof. It will be a hard and difficult fight but it's still winnable. But hurry, time is runing out.

Fritz Mondale speaks out

In the early winter of 1975 I had just finished reading a book entitled: "The Accountability of Power: Toward A Responsible Presidency" that decided for me who I would support for President. It's author, Minnesota Senator Walter F. Mondale, had decided to declare for the White House in what promised to be a very crowded field and I was looking forward to joining his campaign. Even though I was only 21 years old at the time my political views were already starting to crystallize. But before I could blink an eye he abandoned his campaign before the political season began to heat up. Though I was lukewarm about Jimmy Carter in 1976, when he chose then Senator Mondale as his running mate I became an enthusiastic follower.

There is no doubt President Carter and Vice President Mondale redefined what a Vice President's political and historical role would be from there on out. Mr. Mondale always had the qualities I admired for a public servant and when he became a the Democratic nominee in 1984 I knew my feelings about him were justified when he chose Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. A lot of political water has gone under the bridge since then as the former Vice President wound up his active political life with an Ambassadorship to Japan under the Clinton administration serving with distinction. Now he speaks out as only a former Vice President can regarding the crisis of leadership we are now faced with and the unaccountability of power he so eloquently wrote and warned us about over a quarter of a century ago. In this past Sunday's Washington Post he made it crystal clear in an editorial what we are faced with in a time where the GOP uses fear & indifference to accountability as an instrument for political rule:

"The corollary to Cheney's zealous
embrace of secrecy is his near total aversion to the notion of accountability.
I've never seen a former member of the
House of Representatives
demonstrate such contempt for Congress -- even when it was controlled by his own
party. His insistence on invoking executive privilege to block virtually every
congressional request for information has been stupefying -- it's almost as if
he denies the legitimacy of an equal branch of government. Nor does he exhibit
much respect for public opinion, which amounts to indifference toward being held
accountable by the people who elected him.
Whatever authority a vice
president has is derived from the president under whom he serves. There are no
powers inherent in the office; they must be delegated by the president. Somehow,
not only has Cheney been given vast authority by President Bush -- including,
apparently, the entire intelligence portfolio -- but he also pursues his own
agenda. The real question is why the president allows this to happen.
decades ago we lived through another painful example of a
White House exceeding its
authority, lying to the American people, breaking the law and shrouding
everything it did in secrecy. Watergate wrenched the country, and our
constitutional system, like nothing before. We spent years trying to identify
and absorb the lessons of this great excess. But here we are

It isn't a lack of accountability that is so abhorrent in this "administration" that is shocking, it's the embracing of it as a tool for governance with the tacit approval of the mainstream media who fails on every level to call them on it. Former Vice President Mondale is but a lone voice in a choir of Cassandra's that have and continue to go unheeded by the Washington, D.C. punditocracy and the mainstream media. As a voter though, his warnings should not go unheeded. Head over and read the entire piece. It will be worth your time.

Haircuts and boobs, boobs and haircuts....

I am now sticking my head in an oven.

My god, where are these people's heads? First there was and still is John Edwards' $400.00 haircut and now Hillary Clinton's rack. We will now be subjected to unending articles ad nauseum about Senator Clinton's neckline and the "strategy" surrounding it. And before all this, the likes of the MSM talking heads such as Chris Matthews et al talking about Bush's manly jaunt across the flighdeck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln and doing an appropriate swoon on air just makes me want to throw up. That now infamous 'Mission Accomplished' hyper testosterone photo op puts new meaning in the "Walk softly and carry a big stick" diplomacy since we've discovered this about the George W. Bush action figure that seemingly defines what was meant by a 'big stick':

"By far the most compelling confirmation of the phallic meaning of the president's aircraft-carrier cakewalk was found on the hot-selling "George W. Bush Top Gun action figure" manufactured by Talking Presidents. I originally ordered one to use as part of the cover design for this book. The studly twelve-inch flyboy not only comes with a helmet and visor, goggles and oxygen mask, but underneath his flight suit is a full "basket" --- a genuine fake penis, apparently constructed with lifelike silicone."

Somebody please wake me up from this Freudian nightmare. If Abraham Lincoln had been made aware of where political discourse would eventually lead in this country where using genitalia as a metaphor for political manipulation (i.e. the Starr report) and media coverage using personal hygiene as a litmus test for issue viability becomes standard fare he no doubt would have welcomed, if not begged, for Booth's bullet. What's media coverage of a death sentence being handed to you by your health insurance provider as opposed to the actual life threatening medical condition you suffer from compared to media coverage of tits, ass and male units anyway? Apparently, its no contest as the coverage of Hillary's cleavage crystallizes the answer for us.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Carolina Blue!

I KNEW there was a reason UNC and Duke used variations of the color blue. Over at Mydd, Jerome Armstrong picks up a nice piece from the Raleigh News & Observer about the latest voting trends and the new EC vote legislation that says buy, buy to the winner take all rule previously on the books:

Great news for the Dem candidate in '08:

"North Carolina appears
headed to becoming the third state in the nation to abandon the winner-take-all
method for awarding its electoral votes as the House tentatively agreed Thursday
to shelve the method.
In its place, according to the measure approved on a
largely party-line vote, would be a more proportional method that would reward
the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each of the state's
congressional districts.
The Senate already has passed the meaure, which
would take effect in 2008. A final House vote could come Friday, then the bill
would go to Gov. Mike Easley, a Democrat, just like the majority in the
Legislature, which has backed the change. The state Democratic Party also
supports it."

The Democratic candidate would be sure
to receive at least 3 EV's from NC, and probably as high as 7-8, depending on
the nominee.
on '08
points out that Dems have the trifecta in Arkansas and Louisiana as
well, where they could possibly also make this change. At the least, it ensures
that candidates are going to be coming to NC during the 2008 contest. If this
had been in effect during 2000, Gore would have been President.

Having been born and living in North Carolina for most of the 80's I can tell you that there was a rural/urban dichotomy already taking place then. I was wondering how long it would be before urban, liberal sensibilities would soon find its way into the political culture. As it turns out, longer than I had hoped. But the Tar Heel State seems to be banging on the door with this news.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Loving the troops - GOP style

Congresswoman Nancy Boyda (CD#2- D-Kansas) passes along this little vignette that personifies exactly what Digby wrote about earlier today:

“And finally, I would just like to share a
story. When I was speaking back at home with one of a very right wing
conservative talk show hosts and after, thank God, after we were off the air, I
said something that I assumed he would agree with and I just said ‘you know, I’m
really worried about these guys and gals, but mainly guys, that have gone, that
they’ve been redeployed now three and four times’ — he came back to me and said
‘you know what, they should have thought about that before they enlisted, before
they signed up.’ He said ‘it’s their fault.’ And I was so upset, I looked at him
and I said with all due restraint, and I said no respect, it’s not with all due
respect because quite honestly, I have no respect for that opinion, with all due
restraint, and I got myself calmed down and left the room. But I am very
disappointed, I would hope that General Keane would not say that. But I am very
disappointed that, where is he to get up and defend the men and women who have
so honorably served our country? Where is he and where is the rest of this
military to say this is the right thing to do? With all due respect, this
country has to come together and first and foremost deal in the reality of the
situation and find a way to come together and put these crazy partisan politics
behind us, and come up with a way forward. And maybe that’s where I should stop.
And I will yield back my time.”

There is no doubt this is how most of them feel. And how do we know? Look how many Congressional representatives have signed up to fight the most important battle for civilization (to quote Bush) in our history. Ok. As long as someone else fights it.

The GOP wingo's make me sick. (h/t to Atrios).


Over at Firedoglake TRex sets the standard for snarkiness:

Cape Canaveral Florida (CNN) — Someone
intentionally damaged a computer
intended for the International
Space Station, NASA said Thursday.

What, did he install Windows Vista on it?"


Edwards' Lead Holds In Iowa

Chris Bowers of Open Left has a very insightful post at Mydd regarding the latest poll numbers in Iowa and as usual it seems to be dead on. I'm with him about being a little reticent to wrap my arms completely around the latest numbers because the sampling numbers the poll uses are just not high enough to keep the MOE within reasonable range. In any event it's obvious that Edwards is still the man to beat there. Even more fascinating is a poll he has up at his new site, Open Left, showing how many times democratic voters have heard the names of the candidate over a selected four day period from the last three months. Edwards gets only a 2% response and yet after all the media coverage gotten by Clinton and Obama where they were picking up 42% and 22% respectively Edwards still holds his solid lead. This only portends badly for Clinton as her name recognition seems to have topped out. And this being Obama's back yard with Iowa adjoining his home state, this is not good. Yes, a lot can change over the next 170 days but this shows that Edwards' message is right on. Let's hope he can keep it up.

A G.I. Joe War

Digby, Digby, are a goddess. Go here and read this now. As a son and brother of a veteran this article made me want to laugh, cry and rant. She crystallizes the right wing's distortion as no one else can. Our troops are acutal human beings, imagine that........

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The GOP Hates Civil Liberties

I keep wondering how long it is going to take the general population to wake up to the fact that the GOP hates civil liberties. Just yesterday former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gave us an excellent demonstration in Denison Iowa:

"I support tough interrogation techniques,
enhanced interrogation techniques, in circumstances where there is a ticking
time bomb, a ticking bomb," Romney said. "I do not support torture, but I do
support enhanced interrogation techniques to learn from terrorists what we need
to learn to keep the bombs from going off."

I'm not sure how the GOP came around to the conclusion that Al Qaeda is more dangerous than Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan but that kind of a comparative is just mind bogglingly nuts. Somehow we managed to fight a two ocean war without torturing people for intelligence. Yes, we herded up and put Asian descendant American citizens in detention camps, but they were not physically tortured and some semblance of trying to meet Geneva convention standards was attempted.

There is nothing like trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator of your base. And the lowest you can get is to use fear as a rallying point for support. In FDR's lowest moment he never even thought of using fear. This administration and the GOP '08 candidates use it like a blunt instrument. In Denison Iowa yesterday Mitt Romney pulled out his club and started beating it over the heads of his listeners. I'm not sure what's more disturbing: the ease Romney succumbed to the temptation and taking the fear route or his listeners buying into that crap. Either way, it's a road the GOP is willing to lead us down.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Edwards Leading The Way

Sen. Edwards may not be pulling the sexy news stories and early poll numbers that Clinton and Obama are pulling nationally but one thing is for sure, he's the one to beat and rest of the field better realize it. As Taegan Goodard's Political Wire points out, the WSJ today talks about Edwards setting the political agenda for the road to Denver and thereby making the other campaigns react to him. John Edwards gets it. Pretty soon, this tact is going to start paying off for him in national poll numbers and money. In Iowa he's the one to beat despite it being Obama's backyard.

Update: On Wednesday, July 18th, Sen. Edwards wrapped up his 1,800 mile One America tour in Prestonsburg, KY where RFK's 1968 200 mile tour of impoverished regions in southeastern Kentucky ended. The Senator also commemorated Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1968 Poor People's march to Washington, D.C. with a stop in Marks, Mississippi where MLK began his crusade for the downtrodden. OneCarolinaGirl gets major props for uploading this excellent video she made of the Senator's speech in Prestonsburg. John Edwards crystalizes all the themes in his campaign into one nice tight speech demonstrating once again how he just plain gets it and keeps setting the aganda while the others scramble to catch up.

Iowa On My Mind

With 178 days left before the Iowa Caucus on January 14th, 2008 it looks like the Hawkeye State is starting to heat up with campaign activity in the past 48 hours.

Gov. Bill Richardson is predicted to win the Iowa Caucus according to the latest USA Elections Polls. This along with the news that Gov. Richardson's second quarter fund raising might be suggesting a tier position swap with former Sen. John Edwards. I'll have to wait and see on that one because the Edwards campaign did in fact meet it's target for the 2nd quarter. Gov. Richardson is also getting attention from the Des Moines Register for his call on Thursday in Des Moines to increase legal immigration: "I think we also need to raise the legal immigration numbers for those workers that we need." So it looks like the Richardson campaign is trying to make a move in Iowa now by boosting his presence there.

There is no doubt Sen. Clinton is putting major resources in Iowa with a few recent moves in the past 48 hours. The Hill's Congress Blog is reporting that her campaign is set to mail a DVD out to Iowa's registered Democrats detailing her stand on Iraq fresh off the news of her endorsement of former Ambassador Joe Wilson. The former Ambassador is included in the DVD as they discuss her views on the war. This move comes fresh of the heels of news her campaign is helping former Gov. Vilsack retire his failed Presidential campaign debts which only furthers speculation on Vilsack's potential as a runing mate.

I'm somewhat taken with the fact that Sen. Barack Obama doesn't seemed to be mentioned very much with what's at stake with him regarding Iowa. As a neighboring state with Illinois Iowa plays a double edged sword for his campaign. USA Today had an interview with him on Wednesday where he was asked whether or not Iowa could be called 'southern Illinois." This is the first mention I've seen linking how important Iowa will be to Sen. Obama.

Polling data still supports former Sen. Edwards' strength there and he is still the one to beat. One hundred and seventy-eight days is still a long way off and a lot can happen. There is no doubt the Edwards campaign is banking on an Iowa win. He needs it to stay with the Clinton campaign and Obama needs it to just stay in the race.

Welcome Back Markos

It's nice to see Markos back from his vacation, and with a bang as well. He's jumped in with both feet showing what a moron Bill O'Reilly is with his crusade against JetBlue. Markos points out that yet another FauxNews talking blowhole has misinformed us - - again.

Update: Well, looks like JetBlue caved after all and pulled their sponsorship of YearlyKos. Please head on over to Daily Kos now and send an e-mail to corporate headquarters and let them know that caving in to right wing extremists isn't good business. You can bet I'll never fly JetBlue after this. Ever.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Digby Hearts Harry Truman only Digby can.

Big Deal

Ok, so Diane Sawyer apologized for misinforming us yet again. She's still a hack of the first magnitude. The former Nixon speechwriter had loyalties that kept her with him to the very end. So apparently wiping your feet on the Constitution didn't bother her. Sorry, Diane, your mea culpa is as hollow as your respect for the constitution. You and Judy Miller can clink glasses of wine later.

Gore Watch

Though my blog is representative of the fact former NC Senator John Edwards is my preferred choice for the 2008 Democratic nomination of the declared candidates, my first choice is Al Gore who seems more politically attractive than at any other time in his career. If Mr. Gore becomes a candidate in ths race at any time I wll immediately throw my support behind him. Though the odds are against him running, notwithstanding a Shermanesque statement of denial, I continue to hold out hope against hope. Otherwise I will carry on my current support for the netroots favorite, Sen. Edwards. Hence, the reason for this ongoing blog feature: Gore Watch.

So let's get this started, shall we? I see where Linda in SFNM over at Daily Kos fills us in on yet another early primary state poll where Gore is leading the Democratic field. And it's from Senator Craig's state of all places, Idaho. It seems the former V.P. is the preference of 31% of those polled while Hillary and Obama are in the low 20's. As for Iowa, the Des Moines register seems to be getting it's share of letters to the editior from subscibers calling for somekind of action to get Gore in the race via the draft movement.

Meanwhile, I see where GoreHub is reporting that Al Gore has been named International Statesman of the Year by the UK. This ia a nice honor to go along with the other slew of honors that seem to have no end in sight coming his way. I'm glad to see the rest of the world finally catching up to the kind of human being he is.