Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Have a Question for Elizabeth Edwards?

Elizabeth Edwards will be in Lexington for a fundraiser Friday at 5 p.m., and I will be there with bells on. Have ordered multiple copies of her book for Christmas gifts, and will try to get her to sign as many as I can get away with before the crowd stomps me.

Don't know if she's going to take questions, but if she does, I will try to ask at least some of the ones y'all post in comments.

I'll try to get pictures, and post them, too.

Why We Do What We Do

One of the bloggers on the group blog Watching Those We Chose, to which I contribute, passed away this week. I didn't know Mandarin well, being a newcomer to this blog. But I thought of him today reading the comments on Glenn Greenwald's Salon post about MSM hysteria over bloggers.

Glenn made a remark about bloggers' growing self-sufficiency, and commenter paradox_left_coaster objected, writing:

Sorry, this self-sufficiency meme is just completely wrong--in money terms Glenn is correct that blogging is just beginning to break out of total reliance for reporting (far as I know, only 2 do it, FDL and TPM), but to state that blogs are self-sufficient as complete entities is flatly wrong.

Only a few make money. I don't know what happened, really, but when Steve Gilliard died something snapped in me, God how undignified it was. Steve deserved a hell of a lot better to have the cup passed around at his death. I hated it, just hated it that somehow even in death our best bloggers are still left begging.

Mike Stark was at Kos's place last night just on this topic, we've got to find better and new revenue streams for our writers. Does anyone think they can keep this up for another 20 years? For nothing?

My hope was that, is that, someone (anyone!) wake up in the Democratic party and get some revenue out there to their best writers. Jesus is sticks in my craw, how many tens of millions did we raise for the party? What do they do for appreciation or sustainability, heya? Not a god damn thing. Fucking Democrats, I'm surprised they put their clothes on in the morning most days.

We are still in infancy, and a long, long way from true sustained growth that rewards our people. I pray for it and work for it every day, but we are a not there yet.

SomeNYguy, a regular Glenn commenter who never disappoints, responded thus:

Not for nothing. For our country. For our Constitution. For our humanity. For our souls.

I get paid to do a job other people want me to do. I would love to get paid for doing what I believe is the right thing to do, but I'd also like to eat chocolate ice cream day and night yet remain slim and healthy. That's simply an unrealistic expectation.

If you want to support yourself and your family in comfort, you don't join the Peace Corps.

It's awfully nice when you can earn a decent living doing the right thing, but it's the rare exception to the rule.

Those of us who have jobs and blog in our spare time may envy those who get to do it all day and all night, but we forget that for many of them, their blogs are their jobs, their readership their source of income.

If you have just one blog that you really love, one that by virtue of its newsworthiness, or its trenchant analysis, or its humor, makes the world a better place, help it out. If it accepts contributions, send it some money today. If it depends on ad income, publicize it to all your friends, relatives, co-workers and strangers on the street.

As Glenn and others make clear daily, a political and cultural Dark Ages is looming, and progressive bloggers are the last line of resistance. Help arm them for the good fight.


Commenter melior at TPMMuckraker comes up with the perfect one-word description of this maladministration's attempt to explain why it is not subject to the Constitution.

"It's more than improvisatory, it's outright Calvinball."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mitch, Money and Manipulating Elections

You will be stunned to learn that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing the Snoopy Happy Dance over the decision by the Bush Judicial Commission (formerly known as the Supreme Court) to overturn the futile attempt by the McCain-Feingold Act to remove the pernicious and destructive influence of corporate money from U.S. elections.

Here's what the Louisville Courier-Journal said this morning:

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Monday regarding the Supreme Court's decision in the case of Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission affirming the constitutionally protected right for grassroots lobbying groups to engage in electioneering communications in federal elections:

"Prior to this ruling, citizens were allowed to speak their minds except for just before an election - this ruling corrects that obstacle to free speech. This decision is a victory for free speech and confirmation that grassroots advocacy organizations have the same free speech rights as all Americans.

This is a step toward restoring the rights of citizens of every political affiliation to vigorously engage in political debate, whether the government agrees with them or not.

"Americans have a constitutionally protected right to hold their elected representatives accountable and, I hope, with this important decision, we can begin to undo the stranglehold that campaign finance legislation has placed on political debate."


Wisconsin Right To Life (WRTL) challenged a provision that prevents organizations and corporations from mentioning candidates for federal office during the "blackout" period mandated by Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). WRTL and its supporters contend that the law is unconstitutional as applied to them as it outlaws advocacy on legislative issues during election season.

In an Amicus brief filed with the Court in the case in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission, McConnell wrote:

"This case presents the exceptionally important question whether BCRA's restrictions on electioneering communications can be constitutionally applied to grassroots lobbying ads that do not serve an electioneering purpose. … The government has not identified a compelling interest sufficient to justify the imposition of BCRA's restrictions on grass-roots lobbying ads during the weeks immediately preceding an election, when constituents are most receptive to political ads."

Leader McConnell has been a defender of free speech rights, particularly as they relate to political debate. His beliefs on the First Amendment led him to challenge the constitutionality of the BCRA following its enactment.

Let's get a couple of things straight. This is NOT, repeat NOT, a free speech case. This is not a victory for the First Amendment. This is a catastrophe for ordinary Americans trying to make their voices heard in election campaigns.

And Mitch McConnell is about as far as anyone can get from being a defender of free speech rights. He is a defender of the ability of corporations to turn American workers into slaves and American voters into sheep.

I once had a conversation with a charming, intelligent, eloquent Libertarian. A real one, not a fake one like Newt Gingrich.

A self-made millionaire, he argued passionately for not just eliminating all limits on campaign contributions, but for establishing "one dollar, one vote." The more money you have, the more votes you get to cast for the candidate of your choice.

Granted, that system would probably not produce results much different from what we get now, but it's hardly what the Founders had in mind.

It is, however, precisely what Mitch McConnell has in mind.

He who has the gold makes the rules.

In case you forgot, Mitch is up for re-election next year, and he's more vulnerable than he's ever been. If you don't agree with Mitch that money equals speech, help defeat him at Ditch Mitch.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Kentucky GOP Rebelling Against Mitch?

Mark Nickolas at Bluegrass Report cites a Robert Novak column that claims Kentucky republicans may be planning to give Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a primary challenge.

But just when it looks like 2008 is going to be our best chance ever to defeat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, bad news steps up to the plate and delivers a high slow one right to the center fielder.

Democrat Greg Stumbo, our apparently insane state Attorney General, is hinting that he will run against McConnell next year. McConnell is throwing a party at the news.

Back in December, Stumbo was flying high, having slapped Governor Ernie Fletcher hard over political hiring, and looked like a strong candidate for governor.

Then he got a look at Traitor and Criminal Bruce Lunsford’s $5 million campaign chest, and announced he’d run as Lunsford’s lite guv.

Up until that moment, Stumbo was something of a hero to Democrats, and was generally acknowledged as one of the top political minds in the state.

After he joined Lunsford, Stumbo had to stay on the move to keep away from the gentlemen in white coats from Eastern State Mental Hospital.

Allying himself with a republican who betrayed the democratic party lost Stumbo the respect and support of tens of thousands of Democrats, many of whom voted for Steve Beshear in the gubernatorial primary as a protest against Lunsford and Stumbo.

After losing the primary to Beshear by 20 points in May, Stumbo then sealed his status as party pariah by declaring it unconstitutional for state universities to let employees purchase health insurance for domestic partners.

The same tens of thousands of Kentucky Democrats who would have stayed home this November rather than vote for Lunsford-Stumbo if Lunsford had won the primary are the same Democrats who will skip the Senate race on the ballot in 2008 if Stumbo is McConnell’s Democratic challenger.

However, the combination of McConnell’s vulnerability and Stumbo’s unpopularity is likely to draw several more Democrats into the primary race. The filing deadline isn’t until January 30, 2008, so there’s plenty of time for stronger candidates to come out of the woodwork, along with the usual collection of losers (I’m talkin’ to YOU, Steve Henry.)

The leading Democrat in the state is still Rep. Ben Chandler, although freshman Rep. John Yarmuth is moving up fast, despite being a proud liberal in a supposed red state. Yarmuth is probably too green to challenge McConnell next year, but if McConnell really tanks before January, Ben might jump in.

If Steve Beshear becomes Governor in December, he will be the official leader of Kentucky Democrats, but neither he nor his lite guv candidate Dan Mongiardo are likely to file for the Senate six weeks after inauguration. If they lose, they will not only have no chance in hell of beating McConnell, they'll be run out of the state on a rail.

Charlie Owen, a Louisville businessman with deep pockets, keeps hinting about running for something, but except for a losing run for lite guv as Chandler's running mate in 2003, he's a political novice.

So is Andrew Horne, who lost the democratic primary to Yarmuth last year, but Horne is also a retired Army Lt. Colonel and an Iraq War veteran. Horne is the darling of Kentucky progressives, who would dearly love to see a real soldier take on the draft-dodging, war-mongering McConnell.

Don't count gubernatorial primary losers Lunsford or Gatewood Galbraith out, either, which means we're probably looking at a four- to six-person Democratic primary for McConnell's seat next year.

Robert Novak claims that McConnell is unbeatable and that Kentucky republicans are nevertheless contemplating challenging him in the primary. Good grief. Anybody who's spent five minutes watching Kentucky politics for the last two years knows that Kentucky republicans even considering challenging McConnell is not just a death-knell for McConnell but an unmistakable Sign of the Apocolypse.

Once again, the place to join the anti-McConnell bandwagon is Ditch Mitch.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Freedom Isn't Free - Up Off Your Duffs!

If you haven't discovered Glenn Greenwald's blog on Salon, stop reading this post and go there right now this minute.

Greenwald's June 13 post is a brilliant, passionate dissection of this maladministration's destruction of the rule of law.

I won't say more except to read it and send it to everyone you know, but I will repost one wonderful comment.

For you children who don't remember the Free Speech movement at Berkely, a tiny history lesson: Mario Savio was a student at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964 when, during a student protest that was being put down by police in Gestapo style, he jumped up on to the roof of a police car (after politely removing his shoes) and delivered a passionate plea for freedom and democracy. He is remembered as the founder of the Free Speech movement.

And no, he was not a communist. He was an American patriot. And he lived Edward Abbey's admonition that "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government."

Here's Lish's profound comment:

The reality is that it will take the sacrifice of people who are willing to put themselves on the line to block and disrupt the lawless actions of a corrupt and criminal government. It will require many acts of defiant conscience and civil disobediance before the deadly enterprise of war profiteering can no longer proceed with business as usual. It's either that, or resigned and bitter complacency.

We've been up against this wall before, and the words that need to be spoken have been said over and over again. The ones that I recall most vividly are those of Mario Savio from 1964:

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

Amen, Hallelujah, and May the Flying Spaghetti Monster Touch You With His Noodly Appendage.

Ernie's Begging for Money; Mitch Could Be Next

Oh, I do love the spectacle of rabid wingnuts turning on each other.

Seems Kentucky republicans are deserting Governor Ernie Fletcher in droves. They're refusing to contribute to his re-election campaign, they're giving money to his Democratic opponent Steve Beshear, they're skipping Ernie's parties to schmooze with Steve. They've even formed "Republicans for Beshear."

Just a little more than a year ago, such behavior would have brought The Wrath of the Mitch down upon their heads. They would have suffered the political equivalent of hanging, drawing and quartering and beheading. They would have been stripped of all power, fired from their jobs, had their homes foreclosed, their children expelled from private school and their wives shunned by the Junior League.

They might even have lost their private boxes at the Derby.

But McConnell has lost control of the Kentucky Republican Party. First, they rejected Mitch's very own girl, Anne Northup, and re-nominated bad boy Ernie in a landslide. Then, the ones who voted for Annie refused to rejoin the pack, deciding to support the Democrat instead.

Now, I've warned before about the foolishness of underestimating Mitch McConnell. He is utterly and brilliantly unscrupulous. It's remotely possible that McConnell is so furious at Ernie that he is encouraging his loyalists to support Beshear.

But that would be cutting off his nose to spite his face, and I don't believe McConnell would do that, whatever the provocation.

No, I think Mark Nickolas at Bluegrass Report is right: Mitch has no time or money to spare on the Govenor's race right now.

The Senate Majority Leader is hemorraging power and influence as the Smirky maladministration disintegrates and Congressional republicans race for the portholes.

He's got just enough left to squeak by in his 2008 re-election campaign, and hang on until the next republican senate.

Help pull the last support out from under him. Join the Ditch Mitch campaign today!

Mitch Hates Women, Kentucky and the Medical Profession

Once again, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is standing four-square behind a presidential nomination of a Kentuckian whose professional qualifications and/or personal behavior/beliefs drag this state's reputation further into the gutter.

Believe me, Kentucky is full of highly-qualified, highly-competent, reality- and science-based physicians.

But you'd never know it from the two Kentucky chuckle-heads the Smirky maladministration has nominated to high-level medical positions.

First we had David Hager of Lexington, a supposed ob-gyn who specialized in denying birth control to competent adult women who happened to not have a husband. Smirky appointed Hager in 2002 to an FDA advisory committee on reproductive health drugs and women's health.

Which looked a little strange after Hager's ex-wife revealed that he had endangered her own health by anally raping her on a regular basis.

It's OK, though, because he told her that he accidentally hit the "wrong hole."

Sorry to ruin your breakfast, but contemplate just for a moment the qualifications of an ob-gyn who either anally rapes his wife and lies about it, or doesn't know the difference between a vagina and a rectum.

Hager's mercifully gone, but now we have James Holsinger, a physician at the University of Kentucky nominated to be surgeon general.

Holsinger's colleagues support him, and express surprise at the opposition from gay and lesbian groups to Holsinger, who considers homosexuality a curable illness - not to mention a sin. He has written an excruciatingly explicit summary of "studies" purporting to "prove" that gay sex is unnatural and unhealthy.

If Holsinger publicly cited "studies" purporting to show that non-whites are intellectually and morally inferior to whites, would his colleagues continued to defend him based on his professional qualifications?

Would they express "surprise" that the NAACP opposed his nomination to be Surgeon General?

By the way, Holsinger justifies the "unnaturalness" of homosexuality on the basis of plumbing nomenclature, i.e., the "male" and "female" halves of pipe fittings.

Is he claiming that's the source of the famous hardware-based euphemism for sex?

Senators Barack Obama and Christopher Dodd have expressed concerns about Holsinger's nomination, but Mitch just sails on blithely, shitting on Kentucky's - and the nation's - tattered reputation at every opportunity.

Mitch is up for re-election in 2008, and he's by far the weakest he's been since being elected in 1984. To help Kentucky and country rid ourselves of this menace, join the Ditch Mitch campaign.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Damn You, Dennis Kucinich

Dammit, dammit, dammit.

If I put my money where my mouth is, my money where my heart is, my money on what I actually believe, I would sell my house, my car, my furniture, and my clothes, cash out my retirement and write one big check to Dennis Kucinich.

Yeah, yeah, Ralph Nader, blah, blah, blah.

Fuck it.

Dennis Kucinich is on television right now this minute reading my goddamn mind!

  • Out of Iraq This Instant
  • Single Payer Healthcare
  • Money for the Troops, Not Stupid Weapons Systems
  • Voluntary National Service
  • Human Rights
  • Civil Rights
  • Restore American Values
  • Global Peace

Shutup, Dennis!

I can't stand it. He has no chance. No chance, NO CHANCE, NO CHANCE!

And the main reason he has no chance is that people like me, who agree with everything he says, who are sitting here tonight sobbing while he speaks our hearts, refuse to support him because he has no chance.

Damn you, Dennis Kucinich.