Monday, August 28, 2006

on notice

you're on notice, pal!

i just found a new toy on the internets: the stephen colbert "on notice board" generator.

have fun.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

one year later

almost one year ago, clinton administration jetsam dick morris washed up on fox news and made this bold prediction about hurricane katrina's impact on bush's popularity:

y'know, george bush basically believes the federal government should do two things: fight wars and help people recover from disasters and now he's got both on his plate. i think that his ratings are gonna soar! not necessarily in the next three days, but over the next year he's gonna look so good doing all this stuff.

morris' hosts — even bush apologist-in-chief sean hannity — were understandably skeptical:

morris: ... the people who said this storm is gonna hurt bush's presidency are just wrong. he can get all the money he wants out of congress 'cause of this disaster, the people will be solidly behind him, the media will cover it like crazy, and he's gonna look like santa claus.

colmes: so if you're advising democrats now, how would you advise them to react?

morris: to shut up and stop harping —

colmes: ha! "shut up" ... !

morris: — and screaming and hollering and pointing fingers, and start amassing national credits by showing the same liberal democratic compassion bush did.

colmes: so they should just agree with him and say he's doing a great job.

morris: yeah, they — just like right after 9/11, they hurt themselves by any kind of carping. ah, bush — this speech was fantastic!

[ snip ]

morris: ... you have a president that doesn't think government should do a lot. but he believes they should fight wars and that was the first term, and they believe they should recover from disasters and that's the second term. man, is this guy fortunate!

hannity: [chuckling] fortunate to have a disaster?

morris: fortunate to be able to be president at a time when he can respond without violating his principles.

with bush's approval at 41% (according to a fox news poll released on the day of the broadcast), dick probably thought his analysis was not completely ludicrous, since bush seemed to have nowhere to go but up:

today, 41 percent of voters approve and 51 percent disapprove of president bush’s performance, which is the lowest job rating he has received in a fox news poll. the president’s approval rating is down 4 percentage points from two weeks ago (45 percent, august 30-31), around the time the magnitude of katrina’s damage was becoming clear. before the hurricane, 47 percent approved and 44 percent disapproved (july 26-27).

well, after a year of bush's "liberal democratic compassion", dick may have been at least half-right — bush had nowhere to go. nowhere but down, that is, and he's dragging his republican-led congress down with him:

the new poll finds the [sic] 36 percent of americans approve of president bush’s job performance and 56 percent disapprove. these results are in line with the ratings the president has received for the last couple of months. moreover, for the past three surveys the gap between approval among republicans (76 percent) and democrats (10 percent) has been 66 percentage points.

the assessment of the job congress is doing continues to be abysmal, as more than twice as many americans say they disapprove (58 percent) as approve (24 percent).

to be fair, dick's fawning pronouncements would not necessarily have been so pathetically absurd had he been prognosticating about any other president than the dismal one we are presently stuck with. to vindicate dick's wet dreams of republican munificence, all nero bush needed to do was to roll up his sleeves and simply deliver on dick's assurances of timely and tangible material support to katrina's victims.1 compassion — if bush actually has any to give — without assistance is nothing more than contempt.

it was sickening enough that dick neglected to acknowledge the federal government's own culpability in the disaster that so fortuitously befell louisiana. but did dick truly believe that this potemkin administration ever intended to provide new orleans with more than a white wash and red tape? did he truly believe that the destruction of a major american city ever meant more to bush than just an opportunity for another series of woefully ineffectual photo-ops in bush's non-stop dog-and-pony tribute to himself?

1 and of course, while he's at it, bush would also need to pacify iraq and lower oil prices and catch osama bin laden and jump-start the economy and ...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

a message for dick cheney

seen on a bus in queens, new york:

photo by dave hill © 2006.

since i doubt the vice president frequents that particular route, i thought i'd pass the sentiments along.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


josh marshall, a liberal blogger still trying in these partisan times to hold fast to the middle — wherever that may be going — has just reached "like a sort of epiphany":

is there anyone in the country who can say honestly, in their heart of hearts, that when that moment of fear hit them after the recent reports out of london, they said to themselves, "god, i'm glad we're in iraq"?


Saturday, August 12, 2006

red alert

boys, it's time to duct tape the windows, strap on your diapers and man the keyboards — the islamo-irani-talibani-qaeda-o'fascists have taken connecticut!

chuck roberts, anchor @ cnn headline news:

how does this factor into the lieberman/lamont contest? and might some argue, as some have already argued, that lamont is the al qaeda candidate?

tony snow, press secretary @ the white house:

... the real question for the american people to ask themselves is, do you take the war on terror seriously? with all the developments around the world — and, if so, how do you fight it to win? there seems to be two approaches, and in the connecticut race, one of the approaches is ignore the difficulties and walk away. now, when the united states walked away, in the opinion of the osama bin laden in 1991, bin laden drew from that the conclusion that americans were weak and wouldn’t stay the course and that led to september 11th.

dick cheney, vice president @ the white house:

the thing that's partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the american people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task. and when we see the democratic party reject one of its own, a man they selected to be their vice presidential nominee just a few short years ago, it would seem to say a lot about the state the party is in today if that's becoming the dominant view of the democratic party, the basic, fundamental notion that somehow we can retreat behind our oceans and not be actively engaged in this conflict and be safe here at home, which clearly we know we won't — we can't be.

bill o'reilly, talking head @ the o'reilly factor:

i believe this is a chilling indication of what lies ahead in american politics. iran’s betting we americans have no will to restrain their jihad, and judging from the connecticut vote last night, they might be right.

cal thomas, columnist @ the washington times:

the narrow primary defeat of veteran sen. joe lieberman in connecticut's democratic primary is more than a loss for one man. it is a loss for his party and for the country. it completes the capture of the democratic party by its taliban wing.

they used to be "san francisco democrats," a phrase coined by former u.s. ambassador to the united nations jeane kirkpatrick to describe the party's 1984 convention. but they have now morphed into taliban democrats because they are willing to "kill" one of their own, if he does not conform to the narrow and rigid agenda of the party's kook fringe.

joe lieberman, sore loser @ the new york times:

if we just pick up like ned lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in england. it will strengthen them, and they will strike again.

i'm worried that too many people, both in politics and out, don't appreciate the seriousness of the threat to american security and the evil of the enemy that faces us — more evil, or as evil, as nazism and probably more dangerous than the soviet communists we fought during the long cold war.

how the heck can we be in a battle in which we are fighting as democrats and republicans against each other, when these terrorists certainly don't distinguish based on our party affiliation? they want to kill any and all of us.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

post mortem

let us examine the corpse, shall we?

admiralnaismith @ mydd:

lieberman was the goliath candidate. when you're goliath, you win by being as gracious as possible, trying to keep the condescension out of your voice as you welcome the chance for an amicable primary contest and talk about how democracy is so wonderful and your little-known opponent has every right to run, and then you swamp him financially with positive, upbeat ads about your record, mentioning the "david" by name barely if ever. "goliath" wins popularity contests by being a gentle giant, not by being a brutal bully.

lieberman didn't do that. he was fred sanford, clutching his chest and yelling "lamont! lamont!" every chance he got. he didn't even bother to hide his contempt for the democratic process as he screeched and raged at how this bloody peasant was daring to besmirch the divine right of incumbents. he publicly insulted not only the "david" but anyone who held "david"s views — which happened to be popular, majority views. and to cap it off, he unveiled his spoiler independent bid, stabbing his own party in the back before he had even had the primary.

it was lieberman, and not lamont, who turned this race from nothing into a real contest, and then an upset.

thereisnospoon @ daily kos:

let's face some cold, hard facts, people. we didn't do this, because what we supposedly did was impossible to do — in any politcal climate.

in one corner, you had a bunch of unpaid volunteers, internet rabble-rousers, and an inexperienced politician whose highest post had been county selectman.

in the other, you had the three-time senator, former vice-presidential candidate, visible party statesman, bill clinton, hillary clinton, harry reid, barbara boxer, the other popular ct senator dodd, most of organized labor, the women's groups and the environmental groups, most of traditional democratic party support, paid lobbyist support, paid armies of gotv staff, the slick ad money, the top dlc consultants, and a 3 to 1 budget gap.

i'm sorry. that's not david vs. goliath. this isn't even the nba champions versus a rec league team. that's more like an ant vs. my shoe.

and the shoe lost.

but then, the dlc is an old shoe — and the most politically incompetent shoe i've ever seen. the truth is that the dlc couldn't beat my dead great-grandmother. or yours.

they couldn't beat their own shadow. so why did anyone think they could beat karl rove?

josh marshall @ time:

he's seemed almost militantly indifferent to the disaster iraq has become. and his passion about the war seemed reserved exclusively for those who questioned it rather than those who had so clearly botched the enterprise. his continual embrace of president bush — both literal and figurative — was an insult to democrats, the great majority of whom believe bush has governed as one of the most destructive presidents in modern american history. it's almost as though lieberman has gone out of his way to provoke and offend democrats on every point possible, often, seemingly, purely for the reason of provoking. is it any wonder the guy got whacked in a party primary?

lieberman got in trouble because he let himself live in the bubble of d.c. conventional wisdom and a-list punditry. he flattered them; and they loved him back. and as part of that club he was part of the delusion and denial that has sustained our enterprise in iraq for the last three years. in the weeks leading up to tuesday's primary, a-list d.c. pundits were writing columns portraying lieberman's possible defeat as some sort of cataclysmic event that might foreshadow a dark new phase in american politics — as though voters choosing new representation were on a par with abolishing the constitution or condoning political violence. but those breathless plaints only showed how disconnected they are from what's happening in the country at large. they mirrored his disconnection from the politics of the moment.

juan cole:

first of all, the man was brain dead on the iraq issue.

... lieberman had bought into the rove master narrative. bush went to war electively, thus very conveniently making himself a war president and therefore above criticism. he got a second term that way despite having been among the worst presidents in history. lieberman ceded to bush a kind of invulnerability on the most important republican party snafu since its policies contributed to the onset of the great depression. why would a democrat do that?

the answer is that on foreign policy issues, lieberman is a neoconservative, and supports the iraq project for the same reasons that douglas feith and paul wolfowitz (then number 3 and 2 respectively at the pentagon) did.

... lieberman may run as an independent, and we cannot know what will happen in that case. but for the reasons given above, it is important that he has been repudiated by democratic voters. the rest of the party now has a shot at taking the house, without risking having their colleague's pro-bush sanctimonies on iraq constantly thrown in their faces.

christy hardin smith @ firedoglake:

at some point, the folks who report on politics and the folks who run for office will wake up and understand that bloggers are merely americans who try to amplify the sentiment of thousands more just like them. and the overwhelming sentiment that i have been hearing for months and months is that people have had enough of the lies, the manipulation, the self-dealing, the egos, the idiocy, the selfishness, and the outright dereliction of duty and lack of accountability from so many in washington, d.c. in this rubber stamp republican congress … we’ve had enough.

time for a change, pt. ii

from ned lamont's victory speech:

this race started out as a dream, many thought an impossible dream, but thanks to all of you and thousands of citizens across the state ... we have a coalition that believes this is a time for change.

time indeed. couldn't have said it better.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

time for a change

well, it's primary day in connecticut and the country finally gets to see if democratic and independent voters there want a new senator. although lamont has enjoyed an amazing 13-point lead in the polls over the last week, that lead was halved over the weekend, and polls have been known to be wrong anyway. lamont's "netroots" supporters have been careful to temper their enthusiasm, having bitterly tasted defeat too often before.

i've been trying to step back and look at the race in more fundamental terms, beyond the particular issues being argued in it. in most regular elections the voters are offered two choices: the incumbent or the challenger; the status quo or change.

and right now the entire country is disgusted with the direction the white house and congress has taken the country, and nowhere is that truer than in connecticut, one of the bluest of the blue states. the country is aching for change. it's a fundamental dynamic that seems only today to be getting the emphasis it really deserves:

americablog: people are frustrated. they're tired of the republicans and their arrogance, their failed policies, their incompetence, and their inability to learn and grow from their mistakes. that is why the blogs came about, and it's why we've been successful at getting a voice. we are tapping into that frustration and, yes, anger, and channeling it towards an effort to change things for the better.

and that, my reporter friends, is what is happening in connecticut and across america.

joe lieberman is a victim of the anti-incumbent, anti-republican times in which we live. he is not a victim of the peace movement. he is not a victim of the iraq war. he is part or the larger passion play that is taking place across the country against the incumbent party in power. republicans control the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. americans believe our country is heading in the wrong direction and we, rightfully, are finally holding those running the country accountable, in addition to those who enable and embrace them.

mydd: luis, a poll worker who came out for some fresh air, said "lots of democrats today!" — the polling place had separate doors for the republican and democratic primaries, and i could see fewer than 1 out of 10 voters were going in the republican door. luis said he's seen a lot of new voters and young voters today. "they want change."

for all his vaunted experience in politics, lieberman strangely has been either unwilling or unable to recognize or respond to that basic dynamic. he's lost touch with his own constituents. he's been taking them for granted.

this race shouldn't have been a contest. it's been lieberman's to lose all along, and he will. what finally convinced me was lieberman's last big media statement, his "closing argument", which he delivered as a speech on sunday in east haven.

in it he reiterated his record and ticked off his democratic bona fides. but not once did he say the magic words: i'm going to change.

lieberman insists that he's been good for connecticut for 18 years and connecticut needs him to continue to do what he's been doing.

he even insists that he hears the criticism:

what i will say is this: i not only respect your right to disagree or question the president, i value it.

but just how does he demonstrate that? he never explains how his constituents' views influence his behavior, if at all. i get the impression of joe patting a boy on the head, telling him, "i know you're upset — i really, really do — you just need to understand your daddy knows what's good for you."

so it comes as little surprise, according to markos of daily kos, that lieberman omitted these words from his planned ending for that speech when he finally delivered it:

if after hearing the truth about where i stand on iraq, you still want to cast your vote solely on that one issue, then i respect your decision.

lieberman apparently had second thoughts about legitimizing that rationale for the voters.

and when asked early sunday for his position on iraq by george stephanopolous on abc's this week:

gs: you're right that iraq is the number one issue, there's just no question —
jl: — there's no question about it and you see not only — you see it in the opinion polls.
gs: and you said in the debate [with lamont on july 7] that iraq is better now than a year ago. do you still believe that?
jl: it is better now ... it- it- it’s better and worse if you’ll allow me to put it that way ...

joe just can't let go of his support for the failed occupation. even while suffering the damage it's done to his career — which explains his fumbling bush-like doublespeak.

so joe's not gonna change his tune or his behavior, and he expects connecticut voters to simply accept that.

and they will, but only for a few hours longer.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

a good old-fashioned space opera

"rally 'round me boys, we have the heretic on the run!"

this coming tuesday, a long-anticipated, closely-watched and hotly debated showdown will climax in connecticut, deciding not only the democratic nominee for senate (and the de facto next senator of the blue state), but also (in the words of one breathless pundit) for "the soul of the democratic party — and possibly the future of civility in american politics", as well as for the continued relevance of the "netroots", who have invested a great deal of political and emotional capital in the race.

of all the intense coverage of the impending shootout, the most entertaining analysis is being delivered by steve gilliard, who for the past month has been staging the unfolding drama in the brightly painted miniverse of the warhammer 40,000 fantasy wargame:

so why use this?

because of a few reasons.

one, the figures are widely available online, usually well painted, which makes great illustrations.

two, it seems enough people are familiar with the back story so that using it as an allegory to describe joe lieberman's troubles makes sense. it may seem like gibberish to some, but it's really effective. the horus heresy, which has betrayal at it's [sic] core, seems to describe lieberman's predicament pretty well.

three, there is no historical or social bias to the w40k world. if you use historical figures, all kinds of meanings can be inferred where there aren't any. so to depict lieberman as a ultramarine and lamont as a blood angel, with various other participants as members of space marine chapters is a wonderful way to take a lighthearted look at the politics of the connecticut race and not feed the need for lieberman's people to infer some insane bias against him.

sure, there's geekdom involved, which is no handicap here, especially when jen painted a ton of ad&d figures, but it's also a way to express issues of loyalty and opposition in a fictional world where those are the defining characters.

more than any other fictional setting, warhammer 40k is about the duty of citizens to the state and to each other and the value of loyalty.

while not myself familiar with warhammer, only someone who's never seen star wars or lord of the rings could be stumped its simple dynamics, which pit the loyal forces of the imperium (progressive democrats) against the corrupt gods of chaos (republicans and their enablers like the traitorous lieberman).

"defend the leader at all costs!"

the series thus far:

august 3
"chaos marines, follow me"
august 2
chaos space marines to the front
july 30
so what does the times endorsement mean?
"boys, the imperium is with us, attack, attack, attack!!!!!!"
ned lamont for senate: ny times
"ned lamont. in his non blood angels uniform"
july 29
lamont to get times endorsement
"rally 'round me boys, we have the heretic on the run"
july 23
about the lamont race
"once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, or close the wall up with our blood angel dead"
july 22
the last, desperate gasp
"join us and fight the joerus heresy"
defend joe
"how dare anyone challenge the commander? if he makes an alliance with the chaos space marines, it is for our benefit."
july 20
lamont in the lead
"rally to me boys, rally to me. we have the heretic joerus on the run"
chaos space marines for lieberman
"we're for joe, why not you? chaos space marines for lieberman"
july 19
all hail the joerus legacy
"see how the robes feel, commander, come join the chaos marines, you want to be one of us, forget the imperium, come join us."
joe's problem
"who will stand with the commander?"
july 17
nobody loves the commander any more
"poor commander lieberman"
july 15
about warhammer 40k and the space marines
"blood angels for lamont"
"ultramarine legion of lieberman"
july 14
defend commander lieberman
"commander lieberman"
hosanna, someone gets it
"ned's army of gentically mutated blood angel warrior-volunteers on the march"
july 12
joe's problem
"defend the commander at all costs"
july 11
lieberman to form own space marine legion
"so we fight with chaos space marines, we're still loyal"
july 9
the fear of losing joe
"the only people lieberman can trust, his legion of space marines"
july 7
the lieberman lie
"defend the leader at all costs"
july 6
the lieberman conundrum
"a party at war"