Better Angels

"...all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." ---Abraham Lincoln, First Innaugural Address

Friday, October 29, 2004

Oh, I'll bet THIS is going to be a good time...

Yes folks, it's time for Restoration Weekend 2004! No, not Renaissance Weekend, the nonpartisan gathering for movers and shakers in various fields, but the conservative version, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. Just imagine, you get to swim and golf in Boca Raton and go to banquets where you can watch Ann Coulter push food around her plate while Michelle Malkin preens like a cross-eyed cat. Oh, there'll be speeches and forums and panels galore and get this...it's only 9 days after the election, so you know you'll get to hear lots of wailing and gnashing and bitter recriminations!!!

Just look at the roster of soon-to-be sore losers:

Senator Zell Miller

Senator Mitch McConnell

Senator Jeff Sessions

Senator Lindsey Graham

Kelsey Grammer

Victor Davis Hanson

Dick Morris

General Thomas McInerney

Marc Andreessen

Ann Coulter

Michael Barone

Bill Kristol

Tammy Bruce

Robert Davi

John Bryant

Lew Rockwell

Jerry Taylor

Phyllis Chesler

Michelle Malkin

Daniel Pipes

Chris DeMuth

David Horowitz

Charlie Black

Steve Emerson

Christopher Hitchens

R. James Woolsey

Congressman John Doolittle

Bob Barr


But that gets me thinking...the Righties must be mighty confident in the election results. I mean, if there were to be a recount or any other post-election wackiness, it wouldn't make sense for all of Bush's surrogates to be holed up at a resort instead of appearing on Meet the Press et al. What do they know???

(Just for shits and giggles, here's the text of Paul "Lickspittle" Wolfowitz's address to the Kool-Aid Gang in 2002.)



Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Um, what?

Veterans of what, exactly? The rumble at Obadiah's barn-raising?
And one other thing: What is UP with that not-quite-flag on BC04's signs? It's flag-esque!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Somebody Stole My Sign!!!

Oh I am sooooooo aggravated right now. I was upstairs getting dressed when something made me look out the window in my closet. A big SUV with BushCheney stickers was turning around in the driveway across the street. "Oh great" I thought. "He probably just stole my sign." Ha ha, very funny...except it was gone! He drove away and I didn't get the plate number, but I will be on the lookout for the truck. This is a small town.

What is WRONG with these people???

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Wonder if Laura Read This Story to the Twins...

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Coalition of the 404 File Not Found

Via comments at DailyKos: The White House seems to have misplaced the members of the "coalition of the willing." Clicking on the link "Who are the members of the coalition?" on this page gets you a 404 error. The Wayback Machine has it archived as of Feb. 2004, however, so you can still revel in the fine, fine coalition Georgie put together:

Afghanistan
Albania
Angola
Australia
Azerbaijan
Bulgaria
Colombia
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Georgia
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Japan
Kuwait
Latvia
Lithuania
Macedonia
Marshall Islands
Micronesia
Mongolia
Netherlands
Nicaragua
Palau
Panama
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Rwanda
Singapore
Slovakia
Solomon Islands
South Korea
Spain
Tonga
Turkey
Uganda
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United States
Uzbekistan

Of course, Spain, Poland, Honduras, the Phillipines, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Thailand and the Dominican Republic have pulled out. Norway is reducing troops to almost nothing. Time to update that page, then.

This is a good resource for keeping track of all of our allies. Those 12 Moldovans are the linchpin in this operation.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

President Pro Temporary Insanity

There was a little dust-up in the Senate yesterday, where the Dems have suddenly found their balls and the Repubs are on the defensive. Thomas doesn't have the transcript up yet, but NPR replayed bits yesterday and the transcript is up at LexisNexis.

What it came down to is that Sen. Durbin from Illonois was challenging the truth-telling capabilities of the administration, much to the chagrin of Senate President Pro Tempore, Jay Stevens of Alaska. (Stevens is the fill-in for Dick "Parliamentary Procedure" Cheney and 3rd in line for the Presidency.) Stevens objected to Durbin's assertions that there were no WMDs in Iraq, as borne out by the Duelfer report:

NPR's DAVID WELNA: Durbin had rebuffed Alaska's Ted Stevens, the Senate's most senior Republican and the powerful chairman of the Appropriations Committee, which Durbin sits on, too. Durbin eventually did yield to Stevens, who rose to cast doubts on the Duelfer report's conclusion that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction.

SEN. STEVENS: We had the same conclusion with regard to the air force. We were told that he had destroyed a series of airplanes. Later, we found them buried in the desert, a whole series of airplanes, the whole airplane buried, with capable of being dug up and brought up and used. Now we haven't found the weapons of mass destruction yet. This senator believes he had them.

I wondered about these airplanes, I really did. So I took a look. It's true. In the summer of 2003 US troops uncovered 30-40 planes buried at al-Taqqadum. They were cold-war era MiGs for the most part:

Since the year 2000, Iraqi MiG-25s were reported flying recce sorties over Jordan, and even penetrating the Saudi airspace: the Jordanian F-16As proved unable to intercept any, while in early 2003 even the USAF F-15s came too late to catch the Foxbat that flew 60km deep over Saudi Arabia. In December 2002, finally, an Iraqi MiG-25PD shot down a USAF RQ-1B Predator armed recce drone in a sharp engagement in which both sides opened fire. To a great surprise of all informed observers, however, the IrAF was not to participate in the III Persian Gulf War at all: instead, all of its aircraft were hidden, or - as the report above showed - even burried intact. Why had Saddam ordered this was done - especially in the given manner - remains unclear: certainly, the IrAF crews were training the disassembly of their aircraft into main sections already since the late 1990s. But, it remains unclear why would this be done in this case considering the fact that the aircraft were needed for the defence of Iraq. Equally, it remains unclear why was no order given the aircraft to be re-assembled, or why was the job of burrying them in sand done in such a poor way that the damage on most aircraft became irreparable.
(From the Air Combat Information Group's Journal)

Even Porter Goss, our new CIA chief, had to acknowledge that this cache was not the WMDs:

Although the remnants of Saddam's estimated 300-strong combat aircraft fleet are not weapons of mass destruction, Porter Goss, chairman of the US House Intelligence Committee, said that their concealment showed the lengths to which the Baathist regime had gone to hide its armaments."Our guys have found 30-something brand-new aircraft buried in the sand," he said. "These are craft we didn't know about. They are weapons (Iraq) tried to hide." (From the Times of London, 8/2/03)

"Brand new" 25 year old planes? Ok, Porter, you're the spook, not me. But even our friends at Fox reported that "Various officials differed in opinion as to whether the buried aircraft could ever fly again. Many of the planes were buried intact with minimal efforts to protect them from the sand." So Stevens' claim that these things just needed a little dust-off and they'd be ready to go is a little bit disingenuous.

The most damning fact that points to these planes being inconsequential is the general lack of media coverage or administration hype of them. Lexis lists 5 newspaper reports of the find, only 2 of which were in the U.S. FoxNews had one mention, on April 28, 2004, when Sean Hannity tried to use the planes as evidence of WMDs. (He was rebuffed by his guest, New York City Councilman Charles Barron) Nobody else seemed to pick up on this story and you know the administration and their flunkies in the media would be flogging this to death if they could use it to bolster their case.

So why does Stevens bring it up now? Is it a desperate attempt by the administration to hold out one last hope that the WMDs are out there? If so, it's a pretty shoddy one. Stevens finished up by saying "I'll be willing to debate anytime, anytime what happened in Iraq." Even if he has to pull half-truths out of his ass to do so.

Taking back God from the Right

If you are, like I, a thinking, prayerful progressive, take a look at the Kerry Edwards Prayer Team. It's a lovely, thoughtful site with prayers and affirmations for us, our candidates and their families, staff and volunteers.
(via the Village Gate)

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

What a weird thing to say!

I've noticed something strange about W's stump speeches. He likes to
start them out by mentioning Laura, even when she isn't there. Here's an
example from last week's rally in Ohio:

I wish -- I wish Laura were here today to see this crowd. (Applause.) I'm going to have dinner with her tonight, and I cannot wait to tell her what I saw. (Applause.) As you might remember, she was a public school librarian. I asked her to marry me; she said, fine, just so long as I don't ever have to give a speech. (Laughter.) I said, okay. (Laughter.) Fortunately, she didn't hold me to that promise. The American people got to see her in New York City a while ago, saw what a strong, compassionate, great lady she is. (Applause.) I love her dearly. Perhaps the most important reason to put me back into office is so that Laura is First Lady for four more years. (Applause.)

(The most important reason? Good Lord, what does that even mean? Can you imagine if Clinton had said the same about Hilary? It would have been a national news event for weeks. Is Laura Bush actually accomplishing something as first lady? Please, somebody, help me understand this.)

But I digress. What I thought was truly strange about this little anecdote about his marriage proposal. He's told it a lot. I don't know why because it really doesn't make any sense. A 2001 profile on CNN.com tells the story this way:

Laura and George W. Bush married after a three-month courtship in 1977 when both were 31. "I saw an elegant beautiful woman who turned out not only to be elegant and beautiful, but very smart and willing to put up with my rough edges, and I must confess has smoothed them off over time," George W. said of his wife while he was governor of Texas.

Soon after the marriage, George W. Bush began his first political campaign for Congress, which he lost. Laura, raised a Democrat, was now forever tied to a Republican dynasty with her new husband, the grandson of a senator and the son of an ambassador who would soon become vice president, then president of the United States.

While she agreed to take on the role of political wife, she made her husband promise that she would never have to give a speech -- a promise long since broken.

She "agreed to take the role of a political wife?" That's an odd way to put it. But then again, according to Bush's little tale, Laura responded to his proposal with "Fine. As long as I don't have to give a speech." Not "Oh! George! You've made me the happiest woman alive!" Nope, just "fine." There's some real passion there, kids.

Even with the weird dynamics of their relationship aside, it's undeniable that rather than highlighting his accomplishments or complimenting his wife in a more conventional way or demonstrating his patriotism or something suitably campaign-like, Bush chooses to open almost every stump speech he gives, including today's "major policy speech" by bragging about the fact that he doesn't keep his promises. Telling, eh?


Monday, October 04, 2004

Links

Somebody tried to hack into Ginny Schrader's campaign computers. Was it a consulting firm with GOP ties? Becki Donatelli, whose firm, "Campaign Solutions" is apparently THE campaign consulting agency to the GOP, is married to Frank Donatelli Esq., former Reagan staffer and current board member of "Americans for a Better Country." ABC, as it is so cleverly called, is not just another 527. It is, in fact, the 527 that tried to kill all the other 527s.

Last year, Donatelli and his partners started ABC: "Americans for a Better Country, a newly formed 527 political committee, has been set up with the goal of establishing an aggressive voter-mobilization and issue ad campaign to out-raise and out-spend, within the boundaries of the new campaign finance law, the liberal groups whose stated mission is the ‘defeat of George Bush," read its press release.

That's right, they collected no money. They supported no candidates. They ran no advertising. Instead, they filed an request for an advisory opinion with the FEC to try to get that body to rule against the fundraising and spending activities of 527s in general: "The liberal groups have already been raising money from billionaires, labor unions and other special interests and making plans to spend their unlimited soft dollars to affect the 2004 elections. ABC wants the advisory opinion to clarify whether this is permissible." The request for an opinion contains such questions as "If I were George Soros, could I do this?" Ok, not really, but it does lay out very specific hypothetical questions, especially about 527 coordination with campaigns and political parties. The FEC's opinion sidestepped most of the questions, much to the chagrin of conservatives hoping to muzzle Moveon etc.

Donatelli seems to have missed the irony inherent in this situation. He started a 527 to help Bush by limiting the supposed "coordination" between campaigns and advocacy groups while ignoring the fact that his wife runs the company that handles the online presence and fundraising for the RNC and Bush-Cheney '04! Well, as they say, IOIYAR!

Incidentally, while Schrader's opponent is not a client of Campaign Solutions, he is a recipient of funds from Rick Santorum's PAC. Santorum has previously worked with Mike Connell, who is Becki Donatelli's partner in ConnellDonatelli, her other political consulting firm.

Update: Connell's other company, NewMedia Communications, designed the website for the Pennsylvania State Republican Committee. Small world.


Friday, October 01, 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Next President of the United States...

When the debate started last night, I sat on the couch in absolute agony, just waiting for something to go horribly wrong. I couldn't sit still (highly unusual, as I usually make sloths look like real go-getters) and kept getting up to refill wine glasses, make tea, go to the bathroom, etc.
Finally, around the halfway point I started to relax. My parents and Mr. B, who, while essentially Dems, aren't nearly as immersed in the minutae of this campaign as I am, were laughing at Bush and cheering Kerry and reacting the way I imagine most sensible people around the country would react. By the time W. started with the preacher talk about the valley of peace, I was feeling giddy with relief.

Yesterday over at Eschaton, someone in comments metioned how Kerry needed to wear an Atticus Finch suit to the debate. Athenae and I both swooned. Peck-as-Finch turns out to have been a formative crush for both of us. I don't know about her, but I thought Kerry brought the Finch last night, and Chimpy was the rabid dog. Either that or the busted chiffarobe.

Of course, this is my first stop online this morning and I haven't seen the media spin yet. Last night they were acknowledging Kerry as the winner, but who knows what kind of spanking they got from Karl after I went to bed to make them change their tune.