Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The only thing you need to read about Michael Richards' racist freakout. [scroll down for the "update"]

Friday, November 17, 2006


Bo Schembechler dies
Former Michigan coach passes away after collapsing

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Bo Schembechler, who became one of college football's great coaches in two decades at Michigan, died Friday after taping a TV show on the eve of the Wolverines' No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with perennial rival Ohio State. He was 77.

And on the eve of the biggest game of the year between bitter rivals U-M and OSU. Even though Bo hasn't coached in years, he was still very much the father figure for football here in Ann Arbor. As the U-M head coach (and protege to OS's Woody Hayes) during the epic battles between these programs in their heydays, Schembechler took on particular stature during the third week of November every year. He had become very much the face of this rivalry for both sides. In Columbus there is a reknowned band called the Dead Schembechlers... Here in Ann Arbor, they sell Bo bobble heads, but I've never seen such a tribute to ten-year current coach Lloyd Carr...

I'm not going to pretend that I know much or care very much about Michigan (or college) football. I grew up watching Big East basketball, and what I know about U-M is only since I moved here in 2001, but it is readily apparent, even to a casual fan, how much Schembechler means to Ann Arbor and the football program. Bo Schembechler is larger than life in a small city like Ann Arbor, and when you live close enough to the Stadium to park cars on the lawn and hear the PA, like I do, you really can sense the energy that is gameday and 100,000 people descending on your neighborhood.

I'm sure this will cast a somber tone over tomorrow's game, and the broadcasts will be rife with tributes, but I hope it doesn't weigh too heavily on the minds of the Michigan players and coaches. This is the biggest game for these two schools in years, (and If I am correct the latest in the season numbers 1 and 2 have played anywhere in a long time). It was to be the country's biggest sports event of the week, if not the month, and while this adds some Hollywood drama I hope the game doesn't suffer because of it.

RIP Bo. And Go Blue!

[On a lighter note, entertaining (pre-Bo) previews can be found at everydayshouldbesaturday and Deadspin]

Muslim = Traitor

From Media Matters [video and full transcript at link]:

On the November 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck interviewed Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), who became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress on November 7, and asked Ellison if he could "have five minutes here where we're just politically incorrect and I play the cards up on the table." After Ellison agreed, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' " Beck added: "I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."

Now, Beck couched this nauseating statement with plenty of "some of my best friends are Muslim"-type qualifying, but the truth is right there in his quote — "That the way I feel."

This tool just "hypothesized" that a newly elected member of Congress is a traitor on national cable news.

Liberal fucking media, my ass.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"He's Coming...He's Coming..."

Could Barack Obama Really Win?

Over at The Carpetbagger Report, guest-poster Anonymous Liberal has a terrific piece that looks ahead to what kind of Presidential campaign Obama would run.
Are you curious what a Barack Obama presidential campaign would look like? Well, anyone who lives in Massachusetts already has a pretty good idea. That’s because Deval Patrick, who just won the gubernatorial race there—becoming only the second black governor in U.S. history–did so by borrowing Obama’s chief political consultant, David Axelrod, and using the same playbook Obama is likely to use if he runs for president in 2008. Patrick ran a campaign promising a new kind of politics; he ran on the twin themes of hope and change, much like Bill Clinton did in 1992, and perhaps most notably, he capitalized on the widespread feeling among voters that his campaign represented an historic moment for their state and their country. All in all, it was an extraordinarily effective campaign.

I think there a lot of people waiting to cast affirmative, positive votes, not defensive, fear-based votes. Obama could really resonate with voters who are turned off by the last few cycles. Go read the whole thing, t's not long and really left me feeling upbeat about politics for a change.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Water is Wet...

...and Bob Knight is an intense guy who can be mean to his players. Since Coach Sociopath is in the news again for "striking" a player, I thought I'd share this video I saw over at Deadspin...

Good stuff. Say what you want about Knight, apparently he has a sense of humor...

ESPN link on the incident. Thanks for not giving me any video, you chumps. UPDATE: Video here. Not a big deal. But Knight's spin is bullshit. At least that's my completely uninformed judgement...

Lame Duck Hunt

Russ Feingold warns about the danger of looking past the lame duck session. He's right. The Republicans have one last chance to shove the White house Wish List through. Number one on the agenda is Bush's Warrantless Wiretapping... there is no excuse for letting any of this shit pass. The Dems have to hold the line.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald with an excellent column on Feingold and the ineptitude of the Beltway punditry.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Walk the Walk

The lame duck session is underway, and after that, begins the Era of Honest Leadership and Open Govenment. Since we won back both Houses in no small part to the GOP's appearance, reputation and, indeed, practice of corruption—the number one objective of the Democratic leadership should be to set up a clean shop. And the faces out front need to be squeaky clean.

Throw chrome-dome Henry Waxman into that picture up there, and you are looking at an All-Star team of good-looking, honest-type faces, with reputations to match. Guys (and gals) you can trust to know what the fuck is going on and to do the right thing. Seriously, these guys could be the cast of a new Sorkin or Kelley drama. As opposed to the Dick Tracy Rogue's Gallery of Denny "Named after the restaurant or vice versa?" Hastert, Tom "Toxic Smile" DeLay, and John "Oompa Loompa Face" Boehner.

It's no surprise the party is going to invest heavily in Barack Obama and feature him whenever possible. Good. The GOP has no one who can cover him. It's not even close.

I've become an avowed Reid fan, and always love to recall the Vegas strangle story...
In July of 1978, a man named Jack Gordon, who was later married to LaToya Jackson, offered Reid twelve thousand dollars to approve two new, carnival-like gaming devices for casino use. Reid reported the attempted bribe to the F.B.I. and arranged a meeting with Gordon in his office. By agreement, F.B.I. agents burst in to arrest Gordon at the point where Reid asked, “Is this the money?” Although he was taking part in a sting, Reid was unable to control his temper; the videotape shows him getting up from his chair and saying, “You son of a bitch, you tried to bribe me!” and attempting to choke Gordon, before startled agents pulled him off.

That shit is gold. Try to imagine that scenario playing out in Tom Delay's office... There has been some bullshit thrwon against the wall on Reid over the last year or so, but it seems to always be total crap and comes from the same AP reporter who must be related to Jack Gordon, judging by the grudge he bears Reid.

Pelosi has grown on me. and as much as I wish the new Speaker wasn't right out of central casting for the Republican sterotype of liberal Democrat, she is proving she can hold her own. Anybody who continues to call the President "incompetent" and sticks by it is okay by me.

With majority status comes Commitee Chairmanships and the power to not only set the agenda, but the players, and to lay out the rules and the field. This needs to be done carefully and with calculation. Not just because the Republicans are watching, but because the media is watching—they want nothing more than to latch onto the very first "Democrats are the same scumbags as the Republicans" story that pops up. And both of those groups will be working in concert to see that it happens.

And above all, becauser the people who put them in power are watching. I. Am. Watching. It's not good enough that my Party is in power. I actually have expectations of them, and I want them to do the right thing. First, last and fucking always. I am going to be every bit as hard on my Party, if not harder, because I expect and demand better.

Committee Chairs are supposed to go to the most senior ranking member on a Committee of the party in power. That's going to be a problem for the Dems: I've never heard of Rep. Alcee Hastings before this thread at Balloon juice. I'd like to keep it that way for everybody else...
In 1989, Hastings was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for bribery and perjury. The Democratic-controlled Senate convicted Judge Hastings of accepting a $150,000 bribe in 1981 in exchange for a lenient sentence and of perjury in his testimony about the case. He became only the sixth Judge in the history of United States to be removed from office by the United States Senate. (The Senate had the option to forbid Hastings from ever seeking federal office again, but did not do so.)

If this guy was GOP I'd be quick to assume the worst. Just because he's a Dem, I'm not exactly giving him a pass. there appears to be some doubt about his guilt and then there's the fact that he's kept his nose clean since, but to me that doesn't cut any ice with me. Hastings' history is a political nightmare for a Party trying to establish itself as an alternative to the "Culture of Corruption" of the GOP. Appearances count. Big time.

Put simply, former corrupt judges convicted of taking bribes need to be as far in the background as possible if they are even going to hold office. Good for Hastings (I suppose) for having a successful legislative career after whatever occured back in the day, and if the people in his district want to keep sending him to Congress, I guess that's their business. But elevating him to chair-level makes it the my business and everyone else's. The Democratic leadership has an obligation to protect it's political interest and the institution of congress and to serve as a brake for sitiuations like this.

What's good for Florida's 23rd District isn't necessarily what's good for the party or the country. Sorry, Alcee, keep doing a bang-up job serving your constituents, but you will not be holding a gavel ever again if it's up to me.

Everybody knows who Jack Murtha is, he's the grandfatherly former drill sergeant and Viet Nam vet who called Bush out on the War. He stuck his neck out at a time when no other Dem (in office) seemed willing to. He deserves a lot of credit for setting much of the narrative that swept us into power. Pelosi obviously feels indebted to him for that, and has endorsed him to be Majority Leader over current second-in-charge man Steny Hoyer. I don't know anything about Hoyer, but the fact that Murtha appears on this list is NOT a good thing.

While I suspect his larger than life anti-war Vet persona will overshadow any sketchy accusations of wrongdoings—much as McCain has escaped a legacy as one of the Keating Five—Murtha appears not to fit my squeaky clean requirements for leadership. I am hoping Hoyer prevails when that postition comes to a vote.

That's all I got right now, but I will be watching how these things play out, and I want to remind everyone who is drunk on the fact that we are taking back Congress to remember that it's now on us. Trust but verify.

UPDATE: I was under the (hopeful) impression that Pelosi's support for Murtha was a perfunctory gesture to repay him for his loyalty and work on the midterms...endorse him for Leader, and the debt is paid. Hoyer appeared to have the votes over Murtha. According to Josh Marshall, that might not be the case. If Pelosi is calling out the Party on this one, I respect her stones for the move, but I don't necessarily agree with her selection. I want the best (wo)man for the job, not a hand-picked insider. For unity's sake, I hope it all goes down smoothly. I don't want Pelosi effectively neutered right off the bat for backing the wrong horse. More than anything else I want a good Congressional term from the Dems, and I want good things done, and the party needs to be effective and united, not fractured.

UPDATE 2: The more I learn about Murtha, the less I like him as Leader [WSJ link, via John Cole]

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

That Was Fast...

Good. Fucking. Riddance.

And Bush is offering the job to former CIA Director (and Iran/Contra enabler) Bob Gates. Guess that means Lieberman is out of play, and so will be the Senate.

As to the rest of Bush's remarks today, he was much more conciliatory than I thought he would be, and acknowledged he and his party took "a thumpin'." I'll have more to say later after seeing a transcript, but from what I heard there were several remarks that would NEVER have come out of his mouth before the election. Things along the lines of "Democrats care as much as Republicans about protecting the country" and "supporting the troops."

More to come.

Getting Closer...

From the DSCC [via Kos]:

Both Jon Tester and Jim Webb have won their races in Montana and Virginia but want to make sure that every vote is counted. We expect to have official results soon but can happily declare today that Democrats have taken the majority in the U.S. Senate.

Montana Vote Situation: Jon Tester leads Conrad Burns by approximately 1,700 votes (as of 11am EDT) and counting. In Silver Bow County (Butte), a Democratic stronghold, votes are still being counted but Tester is winning there with 66% of the vote. We expect to gain the majority of these uncounted votes and to add to Tester's margin.

Montana Process: When the counting phase is completed, a canvass will verify the vote tallies. That process could take as long as 48 hours, and must begin within three days and end within seven. Unless the canvass shows the margin to be within ¼ of 1%, there is no recount. As the loser, Burns would have to request the recount. When the votes are all counted, we expect to be outside that recount margin.

Virginia Vote Situation: Jim Webb is up by approximately 8,000 votes and once the provisional ballots are counted, we expect Webb's margin to increase. (Please note that VA absentees were included in the tallies from last night.)

Virginia Process: A canvass is underway to verify the results and we expect that process to finish within a day or so. To be in recount, the margin needs to be less than 1% and Allen (as the loser) would have to request it. Because of Virginia voting laws, the margin would have to be much tighter than it currently is to see any change in the outcome. Given the current margins, that is highly, highly unlikely.

Very encouraging indeed. The House was great, but the Senate is fantastic. Sort of the backhand follow-up to the forehand slap Bush got last night.

Good Morning, America

Say, this feels pretty good! Much as I'd love to gloat and ramble on about the kick in the balls we gave the Republican Party last night, I am swamped. I will leave you with a few links and photos for now...

First, this one...

"Sit the fuck down, Ricky." And...

(Hopefully) "Right next to Ricky, Macaca."

Worth noting...

Minnesota's U.S. Congressman-elect Keith Ellison addresses a crowd gathered to celebrate his victory in Minneapolis. Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.


LA Times:
... and the loser
President Bush wasn't on the ballot, but the election was a referendum on his divisiveness. Voters don't like it.

ON THIS MORNING AFTER, the Republican base seems less impregnable and the genius of Karl Rove less radiant. The president and his surrogates in recent weeks tried to emulate past successes by calling Democrats tax-raising, gay-marriage-loving, terrorist-appeasing clones of John Kerry. But their dog-eared playbook — bequeathed by Lee Atwater to "the architect" Rove — failed them. The center still matters.

So George W. Bush, the "divided we win" president, emerges as the day's biggest loser.

The outcome of this election -- even with the not-yet-fully-finalized Senate victories in Virginia and Montana -- is as resounding and clear as it gets.

[...] This is a shattering and humiliating defeat for the Republican Party. The excuse that it is just run-of-the-mill, standard sixth-presidential-year impatience is pure nonsense...

[...] when a President is deeply unpopular and his party perceived to be rife with radicalism and corruption, they lose. And when that perception is particularly strong and widespread, they lose badly. That is what happened here, and there is nothing mundane about. These results are extraordinary, and every Bush follower knows it.

Shattering the myth of the Dems "conservative" victory, Greenwald counters:
Democratic candidates won -- in every part of the country and regardless of their ideology -- by committing themselves to one basic platform. They vigorously opposed what have become the defining attributes of the Republican Party and they pledged to put a stop to them: unchecked Presidential power, mindless warmongering, a refusal to accept or acknowledge realities (both in Iraq and generally), and the deep-seated, fundamental corruption fueling the Bush movement and sustaining their power.

Virtually every Democratic winner, from the most conservative to the most liberal, in the reddest and bluest states, have that in common. They all ran on a platform of putting a stop to the radicalism, deceit and corruption that drives the so-called "conservative" political movement.

[...] Democrats didn't win by pretending to be anything. Democrats won because they emphatically and unapologetically vowed to oppose what the Republican Party has become and to put an end to its deeply corrupt and destructive one-party rule -- and that is what Americans, more than anything else, wanted.

[...] The notion that this is a victory for some sort of mealy-mouthed, Bush-lite, glorified centrism is absurd on its face. Democrats won by aggressively attacking the Bush movement, not by trying to be a slightly modified and duller version of it. The accommodationist tack is what they attempted in 2002 and 2004 when they were crushed. They won in this election by making their opposition clear and assertive.

Just as importantly, as far as I can tell, not single incumbent Democrat lost in Congress or in gubernatorial races. None. Think about that — every Republican challenger in the country lost yesterday. It's a dramatic historical rarity, if not an outright historical first. As Chris Bowers cleverly put it, "No one can ever do worse than they did this year."

With this in mind, yesterday wasn't just a defeat for Bush and the Republican Party; it was a repudiation.

And the Line of the Night? Otto Man:
11:17 pm: Fox News is so somber, they've done everything but break out the black armbands. They just called the House for the Democrats, and by their math, it came on Tom DeLay's old seat. Brit Hume looks like someone just shot his dog and then gay married the corpse.

That's all for now. Enjoy the day.

[It's worth noting that Blogger is surprisingly responsive this morning. I thought it would be a nightmare. Nice work, guys.]

Calling it a Night

Things are really looking good, and I must admit better than I anticipated. I am pleasantly surprised to say the least. the House is locked up with a 30-40 seat advantage. The Senate is down to three seats remaining. The Dems need all three to take the Senate and they are currently leading all three. They might pull this off.

McKaskill and Webb have announced victory. Premature perhaps, but I like it. Chris Matthews is lamenting the passing of the time-honored tradition of the loser conceding first. Get over it, Tweety. I like the aggressive stance on this by Dems. Heading into potential recounts, I think it helps to go in as the perceived winner.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Today's the Day

While walking the dog this morning I was greeted with this sign:


On the way back home, my neighbors and their baby piled out of the car, flashing their "I Voted" stickers at me.

I am exhilarated about voting today. I don't know what will things will look like tomorrow, but I cannot wait to do my part and cast the ballot. I was going to vote on the way home from work, but I'm not sure I can wait that long...

Oh, and those "Fire the Republicans" stickers I mentioned several weeks back? I gave some away, and put the rest all over my car. Even on the sides. Combined with the other stuff on my car, I'm cruising town like a NASCAR.

I'll make some predictions later on. I've already thrown out my Lieberman scenarios here. Others? John Cole & Co.; entertaining ones from TBogg;


UPDATE In a trumped-up display of "I don't care about fucking polls" Dick Cheney is going hunting today. Wow, that guys got fucking ice water Prestone coursing through his veins cyborg cooling system.

Nowhere could I find what he'll be hunting, but you can be sure Harry Whittington is on Mediterranean cruise. As for Cheney's trip, I'm hoping it turns out something like this...

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Simple, sober and convincing. Nice job, Chairman.

"October Surprise?" How 'bout "November Carefully Scheduled Event"...

It's only 9:00 a.m. eastern on Sunday morning, and I already know what every single Republican that shows up on the talk shows will be bragging about—as if it in any way justifies what this country has endured over the last four years...

Iraqi tribunal sentences Saddam to hang
By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer 27 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein was convicted and sentenced Sunday to hang for crimes against humanity in the 1982 killings of 148 people in a single Shiite town, as the ousted leader, trembling and defiant, shouted "God is great!"

As he, his half brother and another senior official in his regime were convicted and sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal, Saddam yelled out, "Long live the people and death to their enemies. Long live the glorious nation, and death to its enemies!"

In a surprising moment of class, Saddam issued this statement...
Later, his lawyer said the former dictator had called on Iraqis to reject sectarian violence and refrain from revenge against U.S. forces.

I would figure Saddam to be much more of a sore loser than that, calling for all sorts of retaliation...

As for the trial itself, I'm sure it was a relative sham, and all, but I am not interested in Ramsey Clark's complaints or anyone else who is going to bitch about the process. Saddam IS getting no less than he deserves. I just think the timing is suspect to say the least.

I'm sure the scheduling of Saddam's death sentence had absolutely nothing to do with Tuesday's election here in the U.S. I mean, seriously, Sunday, November 5 at 8:00 a.m.? What are the odds?

Here's hoping voters see this for the cynical ploy that it is.

Friday, November 03, 2006

FRT: Lazy-ass style

Listening to the iTunes shuffle as I try and make a deadline. It's late (crossing over to early), and I don't have time to give it the full treatment...Click the image to enlarge and read the playlist.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Kerry Problem

Just quickly, since I am swamped... I wanted to weigh in on theis whole "Kerry Bashed the Troops" bullshit. All of this stuff seemed to explode in a short time and people have already accused Kerry of costing the Democrats the election due to his comments. Here's what he said:
What Kerry said Monday at a campaign rally was this: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Firstly, even at their worst, those comments are simply bone-headed, and not worthy of much attention. They certainly should not be considered election-jeopardizing—but that's not the political atmosphere we all breathe in.

I know John Kerry wouldn't actually bash anybody in the military, despite the Right's accusations, but I really wondered what the hell he meant and why he opened his big pompous mouth. I basically thought to myself, "you're not even running, could you please shut the fuck up?"

That was last night.

An article this morning, entitled "White House—and Dems—want Kerry apology", caught my attention (emphasis mine). Of course, the "Dems" part of the headline is the reason it caught my attention—but buried deep at the bottom of the article is actually a clear explanation of what Kerry meant and what happened, but you have to read past the quotes of all of the Dems eager to throw Kerry under the bus, and the Republican histrionics, before you ever get there.
A Kerry spokeswoman, Amy Brundage, said later that the senator's prepared text had called for him to say: "Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."

That should BE the end of the story, not a small detail thrown in at the end of a story.

If Kerry had come out forcefully and explained that himself (not a spokewoman), and repeatedly, this might have been contained. Instead, Kerry put up the bravado front and lobbed a non-apology apology attack at the White House and others:
Kerry, who fought in the Vietnam War, shot back that the charge was a "crazy" distortion of what he said.

"If anybody thinks that a veteran would somehow criticize more than 140,000 troops serving in Iraq and not the president and his people who put them there, they're crazy," he said at a news conference in Seattle, Washington.

"If anyone owes our troops in the fields an apology, it is the president and his failed team and a Republican majority in the Congress that has been willing to rubber-stamp policies that have done injury to our troops and to their families," Kerry said.

I'm glad he learned how to punch back, but in this case it was actually the wrong play. He DID fuck up. He fucked up his own joke. A joke I'd contend should never have made it to the podium. But it did and he botched it. His own exact, in context quote skewers him without any help or "distortion" from Republicans. Therefore he does own an explanation. If he properly explained what he meant, an apology "to the troops" would be unnecessary.

Get the record straight. Kerry should be appearing on every forum that will have him and making a clear, simple explanation of what he was supposed to say. Period. Once that is out there and established, you can come back and punch back against stuff like this:
Vice President Dick Cheney at a Montana campaign rally, scolded Kerry for taking "another swipe at the U. S. military."

"Of course, now Senator Kerry says he was just making a joke, and he botched it up. I guess we didn't get the nuance. He was for the joke before he was against it," Cheney said in a line meant to recall Bush's skewering of Kerry in their 2004 race for saying he had voted for war funds before he voted against them.

GOP Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam veteran and possible 2008 contender, said Wednesday he wasn't sure "how you could construe" Kerry's comment as a joke.

And White House spokesman Tony Snow said Kerry's apology on Imus didn't pass muster. "He's insisting on pointing fingers at the president," Snow said. "Just say you're sorry. It's not hard."

As for the Dems that came out and asked for an apology (Harold Ford and Jon Tester among them), absent a clear explanation from Kerry I can hardly blame them. If Kerry sets the record straight however, they should back off.

Kerry is in a tough position. If he sits on his hands and doesn't help campaign for Dems in the midterms, he'll be criticized for it. He should be stumping, and to his credit, he is. And it appears, by the number of cancellations today, he had an aggressive schedule planned. Good for him. He is after all the party's past-Presidential candidate. That said, he needs to be smart, and safe in what he does. Standing alongside another candidate actually IS the time for carefully planned and calculated comments—something he was criticized for in his own campaign. Instead, he tried to get cute, and it blew up on him and everyone else. When you're a fucking stiff, stick to the script. And keep the script simple.

The best thing Kerry can do now is take some of his now-free time and get out there and attempt to "catapult the propaganda" He should make the rounds on tv and issue his mea culpa, briefly explain exactly what he meant to say, and finish with "I hope that makes perfectly clear that I never meant any insult to our brave troops, and I never would insult them, nor would I make a joke at their expense. End of story. Anybody who continues to insinuate that from this point going forward, is a liar."

UPDATE: Olbermann