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December 16, 2005

(From the diaries. If true, a huge congrats to Russ. And to make things sweeter, it's a true bipartisan coalition. The Patriot Act shouldn't be a partisan issue -- kos)

Associated Press Writer Laurie Kellman reports that it appears Senator Russ Feingold now has enough votes to stop renewal of the PATRIOT Act!

[...] the senior Democrat on the issue, Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), D-Vt., told reporters that more than 40 votes exist to sustain a filibuster in a test vote Friday.

Feingold has pulled together a bipartisan group of Senators to oppose passage of the act in it's current form, which he feels does not yet sufficiently protect our civil liberties.

Feingold finds himself with some unlikely allies, including the Christian Defense Coalition. Notably, the National Rifle Association has not endorsed the Patriot Act renewal that was personally negotiated by Vice President Dick Cheney. The NRA's non-position allows its Senate supporters to oppose renewing the law in its entirety.

"Folks, when we're dealing with civil liberties, you don't compromise them," said Sen. Larry Craig (news, bio, voting record), R-Idaho, an NRA board member.

Other Republicans joining Senator Feingold in opposition include John Sununu of New Hampshire, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and recently Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

The story lays out Senator Feingold's history with the PATRIOT Act, from being a lone voice in the wilderness, to now having a bipartisan group willing to stand with him to protect our civil rights.  I couldn't help but be reminded of Henry Fonda's character in 12 Angry Men.

For those who have not seen this movie, (first of all rent it now!  It will inspire you!) it tells the story of how one jurist, Mr. Davis (played by Fonda), starts out as the only one on the panel unwilling to blindly accept the prosecution's claims of a man's guilt, and instead begins analyzing the facts of the case, eventually persuading the other members of the jury to acquit the man.

The AP article even mentions Russ's possible bid for the presidency and how the issue of the PATRIOT Act may turn out to be a winning one for him, despite all initial appearances to the contrary.

"People don't go to the well of the Senate and become the only senator to vote against something called the 'USA Patriot Act' five weeks after 9/11 because they're trying to get ready to run for president," Feingold said.

Categories: Blogs
Seems like it was just yesterday, Bush was saying:

Some of the most irresponsible comments - about manipulating intelligence - have come from politicians who saw the same intelligence I saw and then voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein, These charges are pure politics."

Whoops! It was yesterday! Ha ha ha ha ha!

What a difference a day makes, eh? Because today from Knight Ridder, we have:

WASHINGTON - President Bush and top administration officials have access to a much broader range of intelligence reports than members of Congress do, a nonpartisan congressional research agency said in a report Thursday, raising questions about recent assertions by the president.
The Congressional Research Service, by contrast, said: "The president, and a small number of presidentially designated Cabinet-level officials, including the vice president ... have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods."
The CRS report identified nine key U.S. intelligence "products" that aren't generally shared with Congress. These include the President's Daily Brief, a compilation of analyses that's given only to the president and a handful of top aides, and a daily digest on terrorism-related matters.

Surprisingly, the White House refused to comment on the issue.

We can only hope some fightin' Dems come out tomorrow with plenty to say.

Categories: Blogs
There are some levels of fucktitude which boggle the mind:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi security forces caught the most wanted man in the country last year, but released him because they didn't know who he was, the Iraqi deputy minister of interior said Thursday.

Hussain Kamal confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- the al Qaeda in Iraq leader who has a $25 million bounty on his head -- was in custody at some point last year but he wouldn't provide further details.

A U.S. official couldn't confirm the report, but said he wouldn't dismiss it.

"It is plausible," he said.

Plausible??? The guy has been one of the most wanted terrorists in the world for several years. His picture has been plastered everywhere. His videos have been broadcast over and over again (albeit against the wishes of many). And it's "plausible" that Iraqi forces didn't recognize him?

You'd think part of that training Bush claims so many Iraqi battalions have received would include maybe showing them Zarqawi's picture, hell, even using it as target practice.  But catch-and-release? Pathetic.

Categories: Blogs

December 15, 2005

  • The 2006 edition of the irregulars are officially on. I've got open posting through the end of the year, and they're already off to a strong start. I'm feeling good about this crew.

  • Bush on tape, to Brit Hume: WMD's were irrelevant. Interesting, considering it was the sole justification for invasion when the war began.

  • Abramoff's charity claims to have disbursed $330,000 in grants to four charities that never received the money. So who cough Delay cough received the money cough DeLay cough instead?  

  • It's been a while since anyone's bashed Pajamas Media. Yeah, they've become instantly irrelevant, so that's part of the reason. But for those looking for a fix, here you go.

  • The VRWC strikes again. In short, NPR leans heavily on conservative think thanks.

  • Bush claims Abramoff gave to both parties. The non-partisan Hotline calls Bush on his bullshit: "Abramoff never gave a penny to Democrats or Democratic committees."

  • Is Conrad Burns holding on to Abramoff money because he plans on retiring? That's apparently the latest theory.

  • Pirro, running for Senate against Hillary, had to be told by a cop to "shut up" as she giggled and talked at the funeral of a slain police officer.

  • Things got heated today in the White House briefing room.

Categories: Blogs
Hotline has the GOP gameplan for 2006.

OK Rep. Tom Cole, a former RNC executive director, is telling colleagues that Republicans can prevent losses in the 2006 midterm elections if they successfully define Democrats as carping critics who favor surrender in Iraq, higher taxes and more government spending.

Click on the link for the full memo.

Categories: Blogs
IL-06 looks set to host a bitter primary between grassroots star Christine Cegelis and decorated Iraq War vet Tammy Duckworth. I've expressed my admiration for Duckworth before, and I've been a fan of Cegelis since her first run in 2004. So I've got no dog in this race. Like the Ohio Senate Democratic primary, I feel that Democrats win regardless of who emerges from the primary.

But, this is a classic insider-outsider race. The DCCC has been undermining Cegelis for months, making sure donors knew that they were working hard to find someone to replace/take on Cegelis. The D-trip claimed Rahm's efforts stemmed from Cegelis' poor fundraising, but of course Rahm was working to sabotage her fundraising. It's the same dynamic we're seeing in Florida as the GOP works to sabotage Katherine Harris' fundraising, then using her poor results as an excuse to try and find an alternative.

Local Democrats, pissed off at the DCCC meddling, are working to block Duckworth from appearing at official party events in the district. I met Rick Klau while working the Dean campaign, he worked Obama's 2004 netroots efforts, and now runs the Naperville, IL Democratic Party. His grassroots/netroots bonafides are impeccable. Yet he was disturbed at local party efforts to saborage Duckworth:

I received an e-mail last night that copied me in on a letter written to Duckworth (and Emanuel). Written by a fellow local party chair and speaking on behalf of the entire township party, the letter starts out by saying Duckworth's campaign is "emphatically unwelcome" and calling Duckworth a "carpet bagger" (she doesn't live in the 6th District -- a curious complaint, as I don't remember many Democrats worried about the fact that Melissa Bean doesn't live in her district). The letter goes on to express a lack of support for her campaign, and while she is welcome to attend this group's upcoming meeting, "please be aware though that Duckworth's campaign workers will not be allowed to speak nor will they be allowed to appear in her behalf." [...]

I was asked to join this party chair in barring Duckworth from running for Congress, something I absolutely refused to do. Here's the text of the letter I sent in response to that request:

I appreciate [his] position, and though I've supported Christine's campaigns (2004 and 2006), I do not see the basis for challenging Tammy's right to run. It's not my position to do so, and I'm strongly in favor of quality candidates who want to serve the party and their constituents. Do I know whether Tammy's the right candidate? No. But I think it's her job to make that case, not someone else's job to shut down that avenue for her. As for the residency requirement, that's a non-issue. We didn't complain when Melissa Bean lived outside of her district, and there is no residency requirement written anywhere that says you must live in the district you run in.

So a little ugly, but that's politics. Tensions are bound to run high an all sides, especially when the DCCC does its "heavy hand" routine. But like Klau writes, it's a democratic process. The voters of the district will ultimately decide who they support.

But then Klau caught someone at the D-trip running astro-turf on his site on Duckworth's behalf:

And then there was this comment left earlier today by "Lisa", who says she lives in Melissa Bean's district and lays out why she thinks Duckworth is the right candidate. Interestingly, the IP address associated with Lisa's computer is owned by the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

The DCCC is in the same building as the DNC. Perhaps a rogue staffer, but still, not the sort of thing the DCCC needs as tensions run high. This whole situation has clearly been mishandled.

Update: Matt Stoller has more.

Categories: Blogs
Today's parliamentary election in Iraq has reportedly finished with limited violence and increased Sunni participation.  

After the polls closed this evening, electoral commission officials said that turnout could have been as high as 11 million out of 15.5 million eligible voters, more than in October's referendum, when many Sunnis boycotted the election.

"There has been a wider participation by Sunni Arabs, so we expect the turnout to be higher," Mr. Ayar said.

The higher participation came in spite of some explosions in Baghdad and Ramadi, and sporadic reports of election irregularities, which Mr. Ayar said were being investigated.

Good for the Iraqi people. Good that they could go to the polls. Good that so few lives were lost, this time. Good that the Sunni have decided to participate. But do we know yet what this is going to get them?

Can all the purple fingers in Iraq solve the question of Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish integration? Given the level of distrust, violence, and hatred we've seen thus far, I'd say not yet.

The vote is expected to reveal a fissure of another sort, between a Shiite coalition of religious parties on one side and a mostly secular array of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties on the other.


Sunni Arab leaders have complained bitterly that the Shiite-led government of Mr. Jafaari has waged a campaign of persecution against them. Indeed, there is mounting evidence that the Shiite-dominated security services have engaged in widespread abductions, killings and torture of Sunni civilians.

Arrayed against the Shiite bloc is likely to be a largely secular group of parties led by Ayad Allawi, the former Baathist and secular Shiite who has attracted a large following of Sunni Arabs. Along with the Sunni Arabs, Mr. Allawi is hoping to bring in the two major Kurdish parties.

A government under the leadership of Mr. Allawi, who is regarded as the American favorite, would steer a markedly different course from one led by the Shiite coalition. The Iraqis gathered around Mr. Allawi, including the Sunni and Kurdish leaders, are largely secular, and they view Iran with great suspicion.

I sincerely hope that this election does bring Iraq closer to democracy, that it represents in some small way the vaunted "advance of freedom" Scottie says it does. I love the idea of purple fingers against insurgents' bombs. It makes for some lovely imagery.

But we've long since learned that imagery isn't enough to win this war. All the "Mission Accomplished" banners in the world aren't enough to overcome the reality of a poorly planned and ineptly conducted war. And all the purple fingers in Arabia aren't enough to create democracy. At least not yet.

Categories: Blogs
Meet Andrew Horne:

An Iraq war veteran unhappy with President Bush's handling of the conflict said Wednesday that he plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Anne Northup, a close Bush ally.

Andrew Horne, who returned home from Iraq last spring after a seven-month stint, said he was entering the 3rd District race partly because of his dissatisfaction with Iraq policy.

"It became a realization that we are less safe than we were, not more safe," said Horne, a longtime political independent who recently joined the Democratic Party.

Horne, 44, a Louisville attorney, will be making his first bid for elective office. If he gains his party's nomination, Horne will face a well-financed, campaign-tested Republican incumbent in Northup, who defeated her last challenger by 22 percentage points in 2004.

Northup's 2004 victory came against a weak candidate. In 2002, she squeaked by 52-48. She's not that dominant an incumbent.

Republicans claim they support the troops, yet those very same troops have returned home, and, given the choice, overwhelmingly chosen the Democratic Party.

What's that say about the Republicans' supposed "support" of the troops?

Update: More here, including the fact that Horne served with Hackett in Iraq.

Categories: Blogs
Sand. Lots of sand. Oil below, brown people above. Corrupt regimes. Human rights violations. Crazed Islamic terrorist cells. Hyped-up "fronts" on the global war on terrorism. Double-talking despots awash in hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money. Sound familiar?

Welcome to ... the Sahara Desert.

The United States has set aside $500 million over the next five years to secure a vast new front in its global war on terrorism: the Sahara Desert.
Critics say the region is not the terrorist zone that some senior US military officers assert. They add that heavy-handed military and financial support that reinforces authoritarian regimes in north and west Africa could fuel radicalism where it scarcely exists.

The region, assessed by the U.S. has having a significant "potential for instability" due to its corruption, poverty, drug trafficking and unemployment, even comes supplied with its own rumored "franchise" of Al Queda, known as the GSPC.

(Interesting, that "potential for instability" phrase. In our new newspeak, an area doesn't have to actually be unstable to draw our interest; the U.S. now feels it should become preemptively meddlesome if it has the potential for it. Watch out, you riotous Parisians. Our eyes are on you.)

Naturally, not all experts - particularly outside of the U.S. - agree with the wisdom of our interference in Africa.

"If anything, the [TSCTI] ... will generate terrorism, by which I mean resistance to the overall US presence and strategy," said Jeremy Keenan, a Sahara specialist at the University of East Anglia.

A report by the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, said that although the Sahara is "not a terrorist hotbed", repressive governments in the region are using the "war on terror" to tap US largesse and deny civil freedoms.

Apparently we are being treated to a peculiarly lethal mix of the roles played by Chalabi, Hussein and Al Queda, all converging in one place at one time to feed off American paranoia, grandiosity and, of course, the American wallet.

The report said the regime of Mauritanian President Maaouiya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya - a US ally in west Africa deposed on 3 August in a bloodless coup - used the threat of terrorism to legitimise the denial of human rights.

Mr Keenan said the government of Algeria is an even worse offender, misleading Washington about the GSPC threat to acquire modern weapons and shed its pariah status.

You see, the GSPC was responsible for a kidnapping in 2003. But, according to The Scotsman article, "Aside from the 2003 kidnapping issue, US and Algerian authorities have failed to present "indisputable verification of a single act of alleged terrorism in the Sahara", Mr Keenan said.

Got that? One single act of verified terrorism in the region. But ... but ... but ... then why are we so terrified of these one-trick-pony kidnappers? Are we simply frozen in the eternal role of playing patsy and Daddy Warbucks to corrupt minor dictatorships worldwide?

"Without the GSPC, the US has no legitimacy for its presence in the region," he added, noting that an escalating American strategic dependency on African oil requires that the United States bolster its presence in the region.

And just like that (snap!), the scales fall from the eyes.

In the words of CSNY:

We have all been here before, we have all been here before
We have all been here before, we have all been here before
We have all been here before, we have all been here before

Categories: Blogs
Italy has just announced its plan to continue its gradual withdrawal of forces in Iraq:

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Italy's government announced the withdrawal of a further 300 soldiers from Iraq in January, less than four month before Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi faces elections.

The reduction to 2,600 soldiers in Iraq comes three months after the first withdrawal of 300 troops, Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino said today in a news conference in Rome.
Back in March 2003, in the led up to the invasion, central to the war marketing campaign was the assembly of a "Coalition of the Willing" to deflect criticism that the US was taking unilateral action in Iraq. The list sparked huge controversy, as many nations found themselves added to the list without their permission.  Officially, the list was 30 nations long (with some 15 more wanting to be "anonymous" members).  Americans were told we would have broad support in the Iraq war and that these nations would pour millions into the reconstruction effort. Indeed, Condoleeza Rice went so far as to claim that the Coalition and its responsibility would grow as the reconstruction phase began:  

Categories: Blogs
Here's some ScAlito language to ponder:

[Plaintiff's] brief never asserts that his work environment was one that a reasonable, non-retarded person would find hostile or abusive.

Pretty interesting in that the plaintiff, a man with a subaverage IQ, presented, via his attorneys, allegations that:

a co-worker attempted to push a broomstick into [plaintiff's] behind as other staff watched.

among other similar allegations. ADDED: Here's a link to the EEOC brief in support of the plaintiff's claim.

Now Right Wing shills like Stuart Taylor will tell you that ScAlito was just enforcing a procedural rule about proper appellate argument. But Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice points out that Alito's strict enforcement of the appellate rules of procedure is quite selective. See, when ScAlito saw the chance to impose the death penalty, the  failure of Pennsylvania prosecutors to raise an argument was excused by ScAlito. Luckily, two Reagan-appointed Justices were not as bloodthirsty as ScAlito. They wrote in response to ScAlito's dissent:

Where the State has never raised the issue at all, . . . [were we to] rais[e] the issue [ourselves] we [would] come dangerously close to acting as advocates for the State rather than impartial magistrates.

ADDED: A Link to Smith v. Horn.

Impartial? Honest? Fair? None of those words comes to mind when you think of ScAlito.

In fact, the word that is flashing in my mind right now is "nonretarded." What kind of judge would write that?

See also Seth Rosenthal in The Nation.

Categories: Blogs

Every now and then we like to look back at our award-winning C&J poll results.  So grab a machete as we hack a path through the gnarled jungle of dendrites and neuropeptides of the Great American Kossack Brain.  Speaking of which...

65% don't like the idea of replacing the term "Kossack" with "KoStar." (My bad.)

20% think a gay porn scandal would have no effect whatsoever on Samuel Alito's prospects for the Supreme Court.

"Syriana" is the end-of-year movie people are looking forward to most (32%), followed by "King Kong" (18%) and "Brokeback Mountain" (15%).

61% think John F. Kennedy was a "great" or "very good" president.  3 people out of 1,237 voters called him "god awful."

49% think 18 is the age at which someone should be charged as an adult instead of as a juvenile.  26% thought the bar should be set at 16.

37% hope Karl Rove sticks around through the 2006 mid-term elections because "he stinks the place up so bad."  But 44% don't.

24% claim that their spouse does more nagging than they do.  13% are single but still claim to "nag myself silly."

97% think the government should be cracking down on violence more than sex (1%) and marijuana (0%).

Only 1% give Democrats an `A' for the way they're responding to the scandals, gaffes and rifts in the Republican party.  33% give `em a `D' and 20% give `em an `F'.

35% think Democrats have the best chance of taking the House in 2006 vs. 20% who think the Senate offers more fertile ground.  (22% said we have a better chance of taking the Alexandria, Virginia Dairy Queen.)

And 39% prefer multi-colored Christmas lights, vs. 25% who prefer white and 22% who prefer them "in the box, where they belong."

John Zogby, eat your heart out.  Today's Do-It-Yourself Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!]  RIGHTNOW!  [Gong!!]

Categories: Blogs
Stoller takes a look at Lieberman's numbers in the 100-senator SUSA poll and sees warning signs:

Lieberman is at 63-31 approval/disapproval overall.  Not a surprise, and similar to Chris Dodd's numbers, who is the other CT Senator.  Among Democrats, however, Lieberman's numbers are 59-36, and among liberals the numbers are 52-41.  Among Republicans, Lieberman's numbers are 69-24, and among conservatives the numbers are 63-33.

In other words, Lieberman's approval ratings are higher among Republicans and Independents than among Democrats.  And when you go by ideology, base liberals like him less than base conservatives.  This is remarkable.  Moveon has 50,000 members in CT, and only 130,000 voters voted in the Democratic primary in 2004.  I don't see any way you can look at these numbers and not see a strong potential political problem for Lieberman if a credible primary challenger emerges (Weicker is implying he will only run as an independent).  

Political Wire has summarized the gist of a radio interview Weicker did a couple of days ago:

  • "If he runs against Lieberman at all, he will not do so as a Democrat seeking a primary, even though it makes intuitive political sense to do so... it's almost impossible to overstate the degree to which, psychologically, Weicker has identified himself as a third party, independent guy."

  • "Weicker is also prepared to remove his name from speculation if someone, from any party, will step forward and mount a substantial challenge to Lieberman based on the latter's war politics."

  • "Weicker knows the odds are long... He admits that losing to Lieberman is a greater probability than winning."

  • "Weicker brushed off the talk about Lieberman replacing Rumsfeld." Bush only wants "his guys" in the room with him.

There is intense pressure on Weicker from grassroots groups to get involved. MoveOn has already said it is considering funding a primary challenger. A single email from MoveOn can generate hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. And 50,000 MoveOn members in Connecticut can do some serious groundwork.

Meanwhile, DFA entered the fray as well.

Democracy for America, a political group founded by Howard Dean and now run by his brother, Jim Dean, delivered to Lieberman's Hartford office a critical letter signed online by 55,000 Americans, including 1,500 Connecticut residents.

Momentum is growing against Lieberman. Two weeks ago, he was home safe. Had he not railed against Bush's critics he'd be well on his way to an easy reelection. But amazing what a few quotes and a week can do in politics.

Categories: Blogs
Congrats are in order to Aravosis, the equality groups, and all their supporters for getting Ford to do the right thing.

  1. Ford announced that it will continue to support gay organizations and gay events in the coming year and beyond.

  2. Ford is going to run advertisements in the gay media NOT ONLY promoting the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, but the ads will promote ALL of Fords brands, by name, including Jaguar and Land Rover.

  3. Ford states unequivocally that it will continue to tailor its ads for the specific audience it is trying to reach, and then goes one step further. Ford challenges us to keep an eye out on their upcoming ads in order to verify that they will in fact be tailored.

Looks like the crazies will have to reinstate their boycott of Ford.

Update: As Aravosis notes, this victory is far bigger than just Ford. Now, every company being threatened by the AFA will know they will face a shitstorm if they cave to those ideologues' hateful demands.

Categories: Blogs
(From the diaries -- kos)

It's official. As everyone expected, Mitt Romney will not run for re-election for Gov. of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has decided not to seek re-election in 2006, a source told The Associated Press on Wednesday, fueling speculation he will seek the 2008 Republican presidential nomination

The source, who is close to the governor and familiar with his plans, said he'd decided not to seek a second term. The governor's office issued a release saying Romney would announce his re-election plans at 6 p.m. at the Statehouse.

Romney has begun calling supporters and other political figures to let them know of his decision. In between calls, he was putting the "final touches" on his announcement speech, which his wife, Ann, planned to attend, the source said.

The governor had been scheduled to make a charity donation in the city's bustling Downtown Crossing area at mid-afternoon, but the appearance was abruptly canceled. The source said the governor instead attended a luncheon for Hurricane Katrina volunteers at a nearby private club, after attending a Christmas party for members of the Gov.'s Council in his closed suite of offices.

The news was not a complete surprise since Romney had declared earlier this year he was "testing the waters" for a White House run.

There we have it, an open race for the Governorship and, in a blue state in a blue year, this better be a relatively easy pick-up provided we choose the right candidate. Paint Massachusetts blue in 2006!!

Categories: Blogs
New items at the Daily Kos store:

We'll be rolling out a whole line of "Is it 2008 yet?" gear over the coming months, but we've started with the brown hoodie, a ceramic coffee mug, and a travel stainless steel coffee mug. And the existing line of t-shirts is still as cool today as when we launched. I've been pretty pleased with the gear -- beats the crap out of crappy Cafe Press stuff.

Now would it be possible for me to write a post shamlessly promoting stuff without mentioning the book? I know this annoys some of you, but tough shit. Lucky for everyone, your eyes can just skip this post and move further down the page or over to the diaries. So don't forget to pre-order Crashing the Gates: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People Powered Politics.

And while my book talks about rebuilding the party infrastructure, David Sirota has his own book coming out at around the same time:

From Sirota:

The book is a users guide to not being bullshitted by corrupt politicians on the major economic issues. The book goes through 10 major ovearching economic issues and shows how politicians use lies, myths and half-truths to make us believe they are legislating for ordinary people, when in fact they are doing Big Money's bidding. In other words, it goes through meticulously and shows how bought-off politicians have become corporate PR spokespeople. It is designed, in many ways, to be a reference guide - readers can read the whole book, or just parts. The goal is to have readers have the book next to them when they watch the evening news, and when a story about a major pocketbook issue comes up, they will be able to flip to the relevant chapter and debunk what they've just heard.

This should be a great complement to Crashing the Gates. In our book, Jerome and I carefully avoid talking about "ideas" and "issues", noting that a well-developed VLWC will generate those ideas and distribute them to the masses. Sirota and I don't agree on everything (who does?), but he's defnitely an idea machine. I can't wait to read this book.

I wish both our books were coming out next week. Our publisher is moving at warp speed (for the publishing biz), and still it takes months to get a book from manuscript to bookshelves. And given that I get annoyed when it takes more than two seconds to publish a post on this site after I hit "submit", it's a whole different experience. I'm sure Sirota feels that same way.

Categories: Blogs
Uh oh. Trouble:

In a sudden and unexpected blow to the Americans working to protect the holiday, liberal U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt ruled the private celebration of Christmas unconstitutional Monday.

Per the court order, city workers take down the Christmas tree from New York's Rockefeller Plaza.

"In accordance with my activist agenda to secularize the nation, this court finds Christmas to be unlawful," Judge Reinhardt said. "The celebration of the birth of the philosopher Jesus--be it in the form of gift-giving, the singing of carols, fanciful decorations, or general good cheer and warm feelings amongst families--is in violation of the First Amendment principles upon which this great nation was founded."

In addition to forbidding the celebration of Christmas in any form, Judge Reinhardt has made it illegal to say "Merry Christmas." Instead, he has ruled that Americans must say "Happy Holidays" or "Vacaciones Felices" if they wish to extend good tidings.

Within an hour of the judge's verdict, National Guard troops were mobilized to enforce the controversial ruling.

Even though this is from the Onion, how much you wanna bet O'Reilly thinks it's real and runs with it?

Categories: Blogs
Categories: Blogs

December 7, 2005

Our good friend Matt Stoller at MyDD wants to draw your attention to some recent news regarding the group "Americans for Job Security".

While the pro-"reform" lobby is chasing boogeymen on the Internet, we've got a complete unaccountable 501c(6) non-profit trade association, not subject to disclosure requirements, spending $1,000,000 on television ads for Rick Santorum.  They're run by some well-known Republican operatives, including veterans of the Swift Boat smear.  AJS even manages to use the same footage in their ads as Santorum does in his own, and for now, they're free to do this under the law.  

And yet, Democracy 21 and their allies seem to be silent on this.

But notice: AJS isn't spending piles of money to support Santorum on the Internet -- they're spending it on television.  The group doesn't even have a website, from what I can tell.

If the "reform" lobby want to get behind some type of legislation to force disclosure of the contributors behind such spending, or any other sensible means to stem such corruption, the readers of this site would help to lobby like hell to get it passed.

But instead of going after real and actual present harms, they're worried about bloggers.  Why?  Members of the reform lobby like Common Cause have been our real and natural allies on so many issues, and we should be working together to clean up politics.  

But we see robust and unfettered political discourse on the Internet as being part of the solution to dirty politics, and they see it as part of the problem.  And I think it's from that difference in mindset -- that failure to grasp what this medium empowers individuals and groups of citizens to do -- that has led us to where are today.

Update by kos: I pulled my post on the same topic. Adam's was better.

Categories: Blogs