Saturday, April 16, 2005

Thanks to DeLay and Frist for Fighting Off Godless Attack on Our Courts 

Non-blog life has been really getting in the way of blog life. I suppose this phenomenon is familiar to many, but irritating to me nonetheless.
Thank God Tom DeLay can take some time away from dealing with his ethics problems to straighten America's judicial system out... and shouldn't we all be writing thank you notes to Senator Frist for stepping away from his medical slo-mo analysis of poor Ms. Schiavo's 10-second video clip long enough to diagnose rampant Godlessness in our courtrooms?

But before the tent show really ramps up for these guys and their act, can we all pause for just one moment, reach out to the person next to you, hold hands, and laugh hysterically?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

John Edwards 

Saw John Edwards speak tonight at the New School. He’s the real deal in person— sounds as sparkling as he comes across on the cool screen. His commitment to economic justice is palpable, perhaps too verbose, but comes across as heartfelt.

He’s clearly on a long run for 2008. If he can communicate his ideas in a way that speaks to America as a community and to the aspirations of the middle class as well as he speaks to the problems of the Other America, he’ll give Hillary a run for her money.

He’s focused on fighting Bush concept of treating wealth preferentially to work income and on honoring proceeds of work as being on a par with entrepreneurial gains. It’s a strong and honest pitch. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who's seen him in person to compare notes…. as inspiring as Kerry's 2004 campaign was wonky.

UPDATE: This is what Edwards wrote in apology for his early support of the Bankruptcy Bill. An honest mistake, hopefully.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Martinez and the Memo 

I’m thinking back to the ‘talking points’ memo that was being circulated among Republicans during the Schiavo mess, the one that celebrated the catbird seat Senate Republicans thought they occupied on the issue.

I still can’t help marveling at the level of mendacity and disloyalty involved in Senator Mel Martinez firing his counsel, Brian Darling over authorship of a document that the Senator was using for all it was worth. Darling’s resignation was immediately accepted by Martinez after the press uncovered that Senator Mel himself hadn’t told the truth about the memo. Martinez then pretended to be shocked, shocked that he'd been passing a memo that used Ms. Schiavo's plight as a political cudgel.

It turns out that Darling wrote the memo for Senator Martinez, and Martinez, a Florida Republican freshman, out to score some points on an issue he was geographically more familiar with than most, inadvertently leaked it. Martinez gave the memo to Democratic Senator Tom Harkin in an attempt to bring him on board the Schiavo legislation, a seriously freshman move to begin with.

One can imagine the conversation going something like, “Tom, you know we’re gonna kill you guys on this issue, it’s a loser for Democrats whether you stand in the way or not. Why not get behind the Schiavo bill now, while there’s still time? Look at this, here’s the kind of arguments and upside points we’ll be hitting you with.” (Martinez hands Harkin the memo, which details all the 'upsides' of poor Ms. Schiavo’s situation for the GOP, including the following tidbits:

-…the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate will be debating this important issue.

-This is a great political issue because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats…

-This legislation ensures that individuals like Teri Schiavo are guaranteed the same legal protections as convicted murderers like Ted Bundy.)

Interestingly enough, the language, while politically cynical, doesn’t stray from the social right’s arguments. It accurately portrays the GOP’s position on the Schiavo matter. The thing that strikes me is that when the memo was finally attributed to Martinez’ office, his humiliation was complete enough for him to fire the author, rather than take ownership of the ideas expressed in it.

Guess being totally opportunistic means never having to say you’re sorry.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Tampa Turns on the Big Show 

Since our recent Second Annual Red Sox Spring Training Visit took the Big Diamond south to the Tampa Bay area, we took particular interest in this item, via Talking Points Memo:

The St. Petersburg Times, publishing right in the backyard of the social right, saw fit to point out the difference between a Presidential visit and the sanitized, all-scripted, no dissent allowed, Social Security privatization ‘forum’ brought to the area’s Tampa Convention Center in February—using the public’s money.

The conservative heartland isn’t taking kindly to having it’s pocket picked— and having it picked while their own money’s being used to pay the con’s expenses.

Courage, Leslie. 

Today’s NY Times carries a series of suggestions for Leslie Moonves to pick from in remaking the CBS Evening News. While Lizz Winstead on “The Daily Show” advocates a rolling CBS eyeball that critiques in live time and an analysis of the reporting out there from other sources, Mark Burnett of “Survivor” fame wants to emulate Roger and Me, by having a reporter standing outside the White House until he’s let in. Don Hewitt of “60 Minutes” has lined up Jon Stewart, Chris Buckley, Ellen DeGeneres, Andy Rooney, and a player to be named later to spice up the commentary, but Al Primo, the inventor of “happy talk” has the best idea— monitor the blogs. And so it goes…

And the Winner is...? 

It’s good to see Hunter’s comments yesterday at DailyKos on the Dana Milbank story (see post below yesterday here, thanks to Suburban Guerrilla) about the latest winger slugfest with the courts. This gathering needs some attention. Hunter speculates that wingers have a contest going to see who can come the closest to advocating violence against federal judges without actually doing so.

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