Saturday, June 28, 2008

Off sailing

You know, sometimes there ARE things more important to me than politics.

I know that might seem shocking to some of you, but it's true.

When the temps hover around 80 during the day and in the upper 60's at night, and the water in the Sound starts creeping into the mid-60's, it's time to go sailing.

For, like, a week or so.

We have a vague idea of where we might go, but beyond the first day or two in Port Jefferson harbor, we can go anywhere. East to Mattituck, or North to Mystic, or West to City Island, or South to Oyster Bay. The winds and tides will largely influence where we end up.

I can't possibly express how great a feeling that is!

In the meantime, I'm turning off the comments because some people can't behave (don't worry, all those great comments will be back up when I return) so please feel free to read some of these fine blogs:

  • ConnecticutBLOG

  • Hat City Blog (Danbury)

  • My Left Nutmeg


  • CT Blue

  • CT Local Politics

  • Drinking Liberally in New Milford

  • CT News Junkie

  • Saramerica

  • And you can watch these videos and see why sailing is better than blogging!

    Last weekend:

    Last summer:

    And again, last summer:

    Friday, June 27, 2008

    Walk In A New Direction with Jim

    Be sure to meet Jim at any of the points along his walk through the 4th District tomorrow (read my earlier post about this), and please help with the end of the quarter fund raising goal of $22,000 for the walk. You don't need to be there to contribute, simply click on the Walk In A New Direction link! You can contribute any time up until Monday evening (June 30th) to help Jim reach the goal for this quarter.

    The importance of diplomacy

    George Bush has been in talks with North Korea lately, and today the outcome of this diplomacy has resulted in the implosion of a nuclear tower as part of their agreement to end their nuclear program.

    I wonder if John "Bomb Iran, Bomb-Bomb Iran" McCain would have simply fired cruise missiles into North Korea instead of going to the negotiating table and trying to come to a peaceful solution? McCain has made much of Barack Obama's statement that he would meet with the Iranian leader to discuss diplomatic solutions with the nation.

    Our nation's dreadful failure at diplomacy is apparent in Iraq and elsewhere. The success in North Korea is a sign that diplomacy can work and should be embraced.

    Instead, we're faced with the incredible possibility that six months into a McCain presidency, the world will be threatened with the tragic specter of another war with a nation that did little to provoke it except engage in a lot of admittedly awful hawkish rhetoric.

    I know I'm being somewhat what Joe Lieberman might refer to as "partisan" here, what with me being one of those loopy people who thinks war is kind of a bad thing and should only be resorted to as the absolute LAST option, but I guess I'm gonna have to deal with that stigma.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    A noun, a verb, and the word "partisan"

    This is, of course, the answer to the question:

    "What does Senator Lieberman always use in a sentence?"

    My apologies to Sen. Joe Biden for my outright theft of his witty line.

    I don't know about you, but every time I hear Joe Lieberman use the word "partisan", I can immediately stop listening at that point and know with certainty that he's referring to someone who doesn't agree 100% with his position.

    You can't disagree with Joe Lieberman and NOT be some kind of partisan hack, apparently.

    If I had the time, I'd scan through a sample of Lieberman's video footage and save clips of every time he uses the word "partisan". I'll wager that it wouldn't take very long to find 100 unique instances of the senator uttering that word. I'm beginning to think it's sort of a verbal crutch that he uses to give himself time to think of a more suitable answer.

    His reaction to the Lieberman Must Go website (see my earlier post) is a prime example. His hired mouthpiece, Marshall Whittman, serves up the senator's response:
    “Americans are tired of this type of old petty partisan politics. Sen. Lieberman will continue to put the country’s interests before partisan interests,” said Marshall Wittmann, Lieberman’s spokesman, in response to the site.
    Isn't that beautiful? Even that partisan hack Marshall Whittman can't stop himself from spewing out the word TWICE in a single paragraph!

    But, on the plus side, it's got to be the easiest thing in the world to be a speech writer for Joe Lieberman:

    All you need is a noun, a verb, and the word "partisan"!

    Himes to walk across the 4th CD

    This Saturday Democratic candidate for Congress Jim Himes will spend the day walking across the 4th District, starting at 7AM in Greenwich and finishing up in Bridgeport at 9:30PM. Residents along the 22-mile path are encouraged to meet and talk to Jim at one of the many stops he'll make, or they can join in the walk for any part of it.

    This sounds like it'll be a really fun day, and I truly wish I didn't have other important plans (OK, I'm going sailing) or I'd come along with my camera and document the walk on video.

    Plus, I can probably use the exercise, rather than wasting the day sitting lazily on my boat, moving the tiller with my foot as I lean back comfortably while sipping some kind of exotic tropical drink with an umbrella in it...but that's my cross to bear, and somehow I'll manage to get through it.
    Twenty-two mile "Walk in a New Direction" to highlight common issues facing Fourth District

    BRIDGEPORT - On Saturday, June 28, Jim Himes will lead supporters on a "Walk in a New Direction" - a twenty-two mile walk from Greenwich to Bridgeport, passing through seven of the seventeen towns in the Fourth Congressional District. The walk will demonstrate the interconnectedness of the towns in the district. Along the way, Jim will talk to voters about for the need for a new direction in Washington.

    Who: Jim Himes, Democratic Candidate for Congress
    What: "Walk in a New Direction" from Greenwich to Bridgeport
    When: Saturday, June 28, 8AM - 9PM
    Where: Jim will available to speak with reporters at anytime during the walk. The following stops may be a particularly good time to catch-up with Jim (times are approximate):

    7:00 AM: Greenwich - Start (16 Hassake Road)
    8:00 AM: Stamford - Rinaldi's Deli (872 East Main St.)
    9:15 AM: Darien - Mama Carmela's Italian Deli (1981 Post Road)
    10:30 AM: Darien - Uncle's Deli (1041 Post Road)
    12:45-1:45 PM: South Norwalk - "Unite for Change" BBQ (Ryan Park, Day St. and Raymond St.)
    3:00 PM: Westport - Doc's Café (575 Riverside Avenue)
    5:00 PM: Westport - Swanky Frank's (1050 Post Road East)
    7:30 PM: Fairfield - Las Vetas Coffee Shop (1462 Post Road)
    9:30 PM: Bridgeport - Baxter's (2770 Fairfield Avenue, Black Rock)

    No surprise on SC ruling

    The Supreme Court just ruled to protect the Constitution.

    Not any of the good bits that have to do with stuff like the right to privacy, or habeas corpus, or anything like that.

    No, the Court in a 5-4 decision split along politically idealogical lines, decided that putting a gun in everyone's hand is a pretty good thing. They ruled to enforce the 2nd Amendment along a pretty broad definition. And although Antonin Scalia, one of Bush's choices for the Court has said that while "an individual now has a constitutional right to own guns, that new right is not unlimited", this will almost certainly open up future challenges to laws limiting access to guns, like the mandatory waiting period before purchase, or limits on where it's non-permissible to carry guns, such as within federal parks and in government buildings.

    So, they've made damned sure to enforce the 2nd Amendment in an election year, while the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments are still under attack by the Bush/Cheney regime.

    And unless we all work together this fall, we'll likely see even further erosions of our rights.

    Except the right to bear arms...

    ...that one's safe.

    Disclaimer: While admitting this may put my "lib cred" at risk, I have to say that I am a gun owner and I possess a Connecticut pistol permit. That doesn't mean I want to see guns dispensed through vending machines, or want the process to legally acquire guns made any easier. There's never a valid reason to have to buy a gun on a moment's notice; someone who can't sit out for a minimum waiting period is a person who will probably put the weapon to immediate and tragic use. Follow link below for some instances of bad things happening when guns are too easily available:

    Link: Deadly Mass Shooting in the United States timeline

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    "Ich bin ein Berliner"

    45 years ago today, John F Kennedy delivered these thrilling (albeit grammatically sketchy) words before a huge crowd in West Berlin.

    It was a very different world then, in many ways. But the spirit of freedom is a constant throughout the history of humankind.
    Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we look -- can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades.
    JFK set a standard for America with that speech, a standard that our nation seems to be sorely failing to live by these days.

    Especially considering how quickly our leaders are willing to trade our hard-won freedoms for political capital. Even today, when the FISA vote may include blanket immunity for possible crimes against our own people.

    Yet, there is the hope and the promise that if we can work together, real change may result; a change that includes a restoration and even an expansion of Constitutional freedoms.

    The video and transcript of JFK's words 45 years ago are located at American Rhetoric. I highly recommend you click on the link and take 8 or so minutes to listen to a President who possessed a unique talent for leadership, for communication, and who had a very real appreciation of history.

    (h/t to Peterr over at Fire Dog Lake)

    Robert Greenwald from Brave New Films has started a petition drive to get the Senate Steering Committee to strip "Traitor Joe" of his Homeland Security Chairmanship after the fall election. Watch the video, then sign the petition at

    Voter's Guide to Lee Whitnum

    MikeCT has compiled and written a very thorough examination of the other Democrat in the race for the 4th Congressional District seat, Lee Whitnum.

    She recently made local headlines when Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz legally certified that Ms. Whitnum had collected the required signatures from 2% of registered Democrats in the district, forcing an August 12th primary.

    Whitnum is hoping to arrange a debate with Democratic nominee Jim Himes to further publicize her low profile long-shot campaign.

    Check out the Voter's Guide to Lee Whitnum HERE.

    (Disclaimer: I couldn't find any images of Ms. Whitnum that haven't been used a million times before, so I posted an image of a crashed Wienermobile in her place. Draw your own parallels.)

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran "likely"

    Former CIA officer Ray McGovern states that he believes "a perfect storm seems to be gathering in late summer or early fall," when the Bush administration and allies in Israel will launch attacks against Iran.

    In an editorial on, McGovern says:
    This time it will be largely the Air Force's show, punctuated by missile and air strikes by the Navy. Israeli-American agreement has now been reached at the highest level; the armed forces planners, plotters and pilots are working out the details.

    Emerging from a 90-minute White House meeting with President George W. Bush on June 4, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the two leaders were of one mind:

    "We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat. I left with a lot less question marks [than] I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions, and American resoluteness to deal with the problem. George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act on that matter before the end of his term in the White House."
    Things are looking very grim for the prospect of a peaceful transition for our nation when Bush/Cheney leave office; especially if Barack Obama wins the presidency. Already there are scary rumblings from McCain's staff, such as adviser Charlie Black's statement that if a terrorist attack occurred on U.S. soil, “certainly it would be a big advantage to him.”

    Black apologized for the remark, but the fact remains that in the most cynical mindset possible, this is all but a foregone conclusion. They sincerely believe nothing would be more helpful to McCain's hawkish ambitions than for a couple more airplanes to fly into high profile targets. The very notion that this would be considered a political advantage by McCain's people is disgusting and thoroughly telling.

    Another thing that would help cement McCain's efforts would be an American attack on Iran. There is a very real possibility that the Bush/Cheney administration will precipitate a crisis that demands a military response from the Iranians, giving us the so-called justification to attack them.

    I prefer not to speculate on what the Bush/Cheney cabal will cook up to provoke a war-like response from Iran, but the immediately aftermath will likely result in an unacceptable number of American causalities and a blistering torrent of hawkish rhetoric from the Right that will almost certainly result in yet another rush to war in the region.

    I grew up during the Cold War, and I participated in countless atomic "duck and cover" drills in elementary school, so I know what the fear of possible attack feels like. Yet, during all those years when we lived under a constant cloud of being only minutes from near-total devastation, I always felt somewhat reassured by the fact that our leaders were smart enough and compassionate enough to avoid going over the top in their efforts to protect us.

    In contrast, our current leaders are neither smart nor compassionate; indeed, they are ruled by hatred, opportunistic greed, and sheer hubris. Their behavior has the tacit approval of a complicit Congress, who for some ungodly reason continues to insist that impeachment is "off the table".

    We can't afford to "duck and cover" any longer.

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    George Carlin

    He will hopefully be remembered for much more than those "seven dirty words".

    "The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things - bad language and whatever - it's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition."

    - George Carlin (1937-2008)

    Why McCain is dreading the debates

    This video by Crooks & Liars shows Fox News discussing John McCain's awful speech on the final night of the primaries when Barack Obama secured the nomination. Besides giving Colbert viewers endless laughs with the green screen background, McCain proved beyond any doubt that he has great difficulty conveying a sense of sincerity when giving a speech.

    That, plus his extremely creepy smile while reiterating his phony "my friends" tag before just about every sentence, shows why McCain is terrified of looking like a complete putz next to Barack Obama in a debate. And why he only wants to appear with him in an environment where their differences won't be so obvious.

    In the succeeding weeks McCain has been pushing for a minimum of ten "town hall" style meetings with Obama, obviously because there is a much better likelihood of softball questions being given to McCain and the style of the meetings won't emphasize McCain's lack of speech-making talent.

    And, judging from the recent McCain-only town hall meeting, Fox News hopes to control the audience by limiting admittance only to Republicans and McCain supporters. We all know that Obama's people aren't falling for that one, and they're going to stick with a normal schedule of debates. The debates that McCain dreads.

    Which will only help solidify the nation's increasing support for Barack.

    Saturday, June 21, 2008

    Torch relay in Tibet "peaceful"

    Of course it is, especially when the Chinese military, not widely known for their restraint or good judgment, is providing security.
    LHASA, China (AP) -- The Olympic torch made its way without trouble Saturday through Tibet's sealed-off capital, site of a March crackdown on rioting that helped fuel demonstrations at some of the flame's
    I dunno, but the phrase "sealed-off capital" doesn't exactly give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Whenever a government has to seal off a city in order to enact their travesty of an event, it's a bad sign.

    I'd complain more about China's invasion and occupation of Tibet, but really, who would take me seriously, especially given George Bush's illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq?

    It's not like the U.S. enjoys the moral high ground anymore.

    Thanks, W.

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Who will win the Obama "Veepstakes"?

    Now that Hillary Clinton is basically out of the running for Obama's running mate, the contest boils down to who is most electable/most qualified to be VP?

    Yesterday, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich and the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, said that former Sens. John Edwards and Sam Nunn are on the list of potential running mates, and others such as Al Gore, John Murtha and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland are mentioned also.

    Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, met Wednesday with Obama VP Search Committee members Caroline Kennedy and Eric Holder. A former Clinton supporter, he offered Clinton's name but said he mentioned others, too. Those included Edwards, Sens. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, Gore, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.

    Balancing the ticket is an important consideration in order to appeal to Clinton Democrats, moderate Republicans, and the all important unaffiliated voting public. The VP candidate Obama ultimately chooses will probably have a greater effect on the voter's minds than some previous presidential candidates.

    And another thing to consider is that the odds are fairly good that whoever is selected will probably be the Democratic nominee in the 2016 campaign, assuming that Obama wins in November and goes on to a second term as an incumbent in 2012.

    So the VP candidate choice will almost certainly have long-term implications for our party and our nation.

    I'm glad they're not taking this decision lightly.

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Lee Whitnum shakes up the 4th CD

    Wow! I just saw MattW's headline over at, and confirmed by a press release I received this morning from Susan Bysiewicz that says Lee Whitnum "has the signatures required to qualify for a spot on the August 12th Democratic primary ballot against endorsed party candidate Jim Himes."

    I was actually hoping she'd run as an independent candidate so we'd be treated to the possibility of Chris Shays finishing in THIRD PLACE this November, but alas, it's not destined to be.

    Anyway, I do have a few thoughts about this.

    First, I think that if Whitnum reigns in her extremist rhetoric when talking about her opponent, it will go a long way towards her getting better treatment from the local blogosphere. In the past, she's referred to Jim Himes using outrageous and inflammatory words. If she wants to be taken seriously by us, she needs to tone that sort of language down and stick with discussing the issues. Ad hominum personal attacks are counter productive to the process.

    Next, Whitnum has successfully achieved a spot on the ballot, which is really quite an accomplishment, and as such she is owed a modicum of courtesy. I know there's a tendency to dismiss her candidacy outright, but we all should respect the democratic process and encourage an open and honest discussion of the issues.

    This is a Democratic Party primary, and by using excessive ridicule and personal attacks, we only make ourselves look bad. If she uses restraint and approaches the process seriously, I'm willing to give her the benefit of a doubt and not refer to her using any of the pejoratives I've seen used elsewhere. I feel that we will all benefit from using similar restraint.

    As members of the Democratic Party, we should strive to be as fair as possible, even if we don't necessarily agree with what a candidate says or does. We've just come through a long and, in some ways, damaging national primary. There are rifts within our party that will take some time and effort to heal. But as a party we CAN and WILL survive this kind of thing, and that's why I feel we should make a real effort to respect the process and encourage an open and honest dialog.

    And there's quite a bit of good that can come from the primary, not the least of which is having the likely nominee get some District-wide campaigning experience before facing Chris Shays and all the resources that the RNCC can put at his disposal. Because you just KNOW the Republicans are going to fight tooth and nail to maintain their last GOP seat in New England.

    Probably NSFW: McCain's favorite word

    Some things never cease to amaze me.

    Yesterday the National Press Club allowed a known liar and convicted felon to spread his phenomenally outrageous lies.

    (He was shortly thereafter arrested on an outstanding warrant...what a shocker)

    If the Press Club can use the sleazy little liar Larry Sinclair to reiterate his Republican-sponsored smears of Barack Obama, then I can post this video about John McCain's alleged likely use of a very bad word to refer to his wife; in front of THREE reporters yet!

    Hey, I was tempted to use the uncensored version of the video (yes, there is one), but I think everyone will get the idea without me lowering myself to John McCain's level.

    This blog does have standards to maintain you know.

    Although, there IS one gratuitous use of the word "balls" in the video, so parental discretion is advised.

    In fact, it's encouraged. Strongly.

    Actually, if you let your kids watch this video, you're probably a horrible parent with an entirely inappropriate sense of what is acceptable fare for children.

    Take 'em to the movies instead. I hear "Kung Fu Panda" is quite popular with the kiddies. I don't think there's any bleeps in that movie.

    Warnings aside, watch and enjoy:

    ("She's not even black" is the funniest line in the video)

    McCain/Bush team up for offshore drilling

    Speech writers for McCain and Bush are obviously pulling double duty.

    The "maverick" John Sidney McCain III is sounding more and more like George Bush every single day. There is zero originality between their messages.

    After several days of the Republicans rallying around this false concept that we have all the oil we'll ever need lying just offshore and all we have to do is stick a straw in it to start drinking, some facts are clouding their fantasy.

    The problem is, this milkshake isn't all that simple to drink.

    First of all, this is a very long term goal that does absolutely nothing to solve our present energy problem. And the amount of oil out there is completely unknown and might prove to be much too expensive to extract. Let's not forget the likely environmental issues involved with extensive ocean drilling. And the fact that oil platforms are preferred targets for terrorists and militants; see what happened off of Nigeria today.

    Oh, and there aren't any ships available to do the deep water drilling for at least five to ten years.

    So this Republican "magic bullet" won't do a single thing for our rapidly worsening energy situation.

    At least, not until President Richardson is sworn in after Obama's two terms are done.

    What we need right now is a broad spectrum approach to energy, with conservation and efficiency being the first steps. We need to adequately fund research on alternative energy sources. We need to create incentives for auto manufacturers to improve their vehicle's fuel economy. We need to change the way we think about energy.

    Think of where we'd be today if the strides we made in the late 1970's towards energy independence weren't reversed by successive Republican presidents.

    Monday, June 16, 2008

    Interview with Chris Murphy (CT-5)

    Congressman Chris Murphy from the 5th CD joined me for an interview on Saturday morning. The video covers topics such as the 2006 election, the Supreme Court, the Constitution, current bills before the House, and Chris's impressions from his first term in Congress. The entire interview runs 22 minutes.

    Sunday, June 15, 2008

    Expect the very worst from Joe Lieberman

    National Democrats are outraged at Joe Lieberman's increasingly desperate attempt to hang onto power by supporting John McCain, who represents Lieberman's only chance to avoid being stripped of his Chairmanship of Homeland Security and consigned to the trash heap as this year's Zell Miller. We'll almost certainly hear from "Traitor Joe" at this year's Republican National Convention, where he'll be in "full rabid-weasel attack mode."
    By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON - Joe Lieberman is fast becoming the Democrats' public enemy No. 1.

    The four-term Connecticut senator, who came tantalizingly close to being Al Gore's vice president in 2000, not only has been campaigning for his pal, presumed Republican nominee John McCain, now he's publicly criticizing the Democrats' standard-bearer, Barack Obama. Lieberman has strayed before, most notably switching from Democrat to independent in 2006 to hold onto his Senate seat after a Democratic primary loss.

    But the latest betrayal has upset Democrats, who often answer in clipped but polite tones when asked about Lieberman. The reason: The independent still caucuses with the Democrats on most issues except the Iraq war, and he holds their slim political majority in his hands.

    "There's a commonly held hope that he's not going to be transformed into an attack dog for Republicans," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., an Obama supporter. (CT Bob: Don't hold you're breath, John!)

    Lieberman has wasted no time in questioning Obama's positions on Iran and Israel, two topics on which Lieberman and McCain agree. Just one day after Obama clinched his party's nomination, Lieberman joined Republicans on a McCain campaign teleconference call assailing Obama following his foreign policy address to a leading Jewish group.

    Lieberman accused Obama of blaming U.S. policies for "essentially sort of strengthening" Iran.
    I wonder if Joe Lieberman ever lies awake at night and stares at the ceiling, thinking about how he's pissed away every vestige of integrity in a naked effort to cling to power? I can't imagine he doesn't regret some of the decisions he's made which has permanently stained his legacy and made him alternately hated and a laughing stock.

    Does the thought ever occur to him that he should have quietly retired in 2006 and allowed a younger and more idealistic generation assume the helm? He could have become a respected professor, or an MSNBC pundit, or even a highly successful lobbyist for Israel, and done so without wrecking his place in history.

    Instead, after this year's election, Joe Lieberman will be remembered mostly as an angry, pathetic, impotent little man; known best for selling out every deeply held belief in order to win.

    In that respect, he's perfect for John McCain.

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    Interview with Chris Murphy

    Rep. Chris Murphy (CT-5) took time out of his busy weekend schedule to sit for an interview with me this morning. He stayed until I asked all my silly questions, then was off to Waterbury for a meeting and later would appear at a CCAG event, along with a few other stops today.

    I was competently assisted by the talented young Spazeboy, who worked the cameras with consummate skill and failed epically to correct me when I repeatedly referred to the I-91 corridor as the "I-95" corridor, because I rarely listen to what I'm saying during an interview as I'm desperately trying to figure out what I'm going to ask next.

    Looking at the photo above, I also realized that I need a haircut (and a diet, L-O-L!); and that me hitting the road at 7:30AM on a Saturday for an interview is much too early!

    Thanks are owed to Murphy staffers Kristen Bossi and Eamon Welch for their help. The interview will probably be posted online sometime during the next few days, so check back here often; and please visit MurphyForCongress.Org to find out more about this hardworking Congressman.

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    "I never have been, I never will be..."

    John McCain was discussing his stance on privatizing Social Security earlier in the campaign.

    However, in a 2004 speech, McCain declared his undeniably strong support of privatization.

    Either McCain flip-flopped on the issue, or he's suffering from the acute memory loss consistent with the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

    Either way, is the the guy you want running your country?

    Tim Russert dead at 58

    What a sad bit of news today. Regardless of what you may have thought about his journalistic style, it's just way too early for someone who seemed fairly decent to check out.
    WASHINGTON (AP) - Tim Russert, who pointedly but politely questioned hundreds of the powerful and influential as moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press," died Friday of an apparent heart attack. The network's Washington bureau chief was 58.

    In addition to his weekly program, Russert made periodic appearances on the network's other news shows, was moderator for numerous political debates and wrote two best-selling books.

    NBC interrupted its regular programming to announce Russert's death, and in the ensuing moments, familiar faces such as Tom Brokaw, Andrea Mitchell and Brian Williams took turns mourning his loss.

    Williams called him "aggressively unfancy."
    After seeing and absorbing this news, I'm slightly ashamed to admit that the next thing I thought of was a list of more deserving "journalists" to whom fate apparently had given a pass today. Honestly, I try not to let myself think along those lines.

    Justice, and Karma, apparently, are both blind.

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Ron Paul's Revolution is over

    Ron Paul somehow captured the imagination of a large group of disillusioned voters (mostly Republican) to work like OT3-level Scientologists to help their guru make it to the White House. Heck, they even had themselves a BLIMP, fer Christ's sake!

    From the Associated Press:
    AUSTIN, Texas — Republican presidentical candidate Ron Paul will end his campaign Thursday night and announce a new effort to help elect libertarian-leaning Republican to public offices around the country.

    Campaign spokesman Jessee Benton said the announcement, expected during a speech outside the Texas Republican convention, was "not a disappointment at all. I think this is really exciting."

    Paul's announcement will be a formality.

    The 72-year-old Texas congressman won few delegates during the Republican primaries. But he raised millions of dollars online and developed a large, grass-roots following among those who backed his call for end the war in Iraq and smaller government at home.

    Supporters have pushed for a speaking role for him at the Republican National Convention in September in St. Paul, Minn.

    Paul has said he won't endorse Sen. John McCain, the likely GOP presidential nominee. Benton said that was unlikely to change.

    Kucinich challenges O'Reilly on impeachment

    The man on Fox News who desperately wanted to use a loofah as a sex toy on his unwilling female producer (allegedly, to the tune of $10,000,000 to prevent her from releasing the audio recording of Billo's sexy talk) spoke to Dennis Kucinich about the issues. Especially wanting him to knock off his "dopey partisan" silliness regarding the impeachment of Bill's personal hero and spiritual leader G.W. Bush.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    "That's not too important..."

    Yeah, THIS is the guy we need running the country!


    UPDATE to post below: Beer is safe with Obama!

    Lee Whitnum update

    Via Gabe at CTLP, the Greenwich Time asserts that there are problems with some signatures collected by Lee Whitnum (pictured above in 1999 with John Kerry):
    In Greenwich, Gail Mills, the assistant Democratic registrar, said only 12 of the 58 names submitted by Whitnum were valid.

    "Either they're not registered at all or not registered in the Democratic party," Mills said. "Many signed it that weren't even registered."

    Whitnum said the Greenwich signatures were collected by one of her volunteers.

    "We definitely screened everyone, asking if they were a registered Democrat," Whitnum said. "That's discouraging about the Greenwich people."
    On a positive note, it's really nice to see someone actually taking the time to verify signatures collected in a petition drive. I'm still waiting for answers to my inquiries about the signatures that Joe Lieberman collected for his independent run for Senate back in 2006. Nobody seemed to own up to actually verifying the signatures, or addressed my questions about allegations that some of Lieberman's signatures were collected at one or both of the Indian casinos, which is an automatic disqualification of all those signatures and a criminal case of fraud by the people submitting them. Oh well, whatever.

    At least, I am glad to see such immediate and thorough verification being performed.

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Whitnum to primary Himes

    Lee Whitnum, the scrappy dark-horse Democratic candidate from Greenwich, has turned in the required signatures to get on the ballot for a 4th Congressional District primary against Jim Himes, according to a local registrar of voters.

    (Candidate Lee Whitnum with an unidentified youthful-beyond-belief blogger at the annual Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner; photo by Connecticut Bob)

    From the Greenwich Time:
    Battling near-triple-digit temperatures and car problems, a Greenwich woman scrambled Tuesday to file petitions by a 4 p.m. deadline for forcing an August primary against Democrat Jim Himes, the party-endorsed candidate in 4th District congressional race.

    Lee Whitnum, 47, a substitute teacher who has written novels, was optimistic about her chances of qualifying for the contest.

    "We've got the signatures," Whitnum said when reached on her cell phone.

    Whitnum said she was too busy to talk further because she was delivering her petitions to election officials across the district, which includes 17 municipalities in Fairfield County and a sliver of New Haven County.

    To force an August 12 primary against Himes, who was endorsed at the party's nominating convention last month and also lives in Greenwich, Whitnum needs to get signatures from 2,459 or 2 percent of the registered Democrats in the district. The winner would take on longtime Republican incumbent Christopher Shays in the November general election.

    "Looks like the young lady is ready to go," said Alice Fortunato, the Democratic registrar of voters in Stamford, where a volunteer dropped off a petition with 300 names.

    Election officials in the different municipalities have seven days to certify that the petition's signers are registered Democrats in their respective city or town. The names will get forwarded to the Secretary of the State's office after the certification.


    OK, even though I wasn't going to vote for McCain before, I'm DEFINITELY not going to vote for him NOW!

    Don't veto our beermarks!

    They're all we've got left, fer God's sake!

    And yes, I think it's hysterical to make fun of old people.

    (...especially when they want to fucking bomb Iran!)

    Monday, June 09, 2008

    Kucinich calls for impeachment yet again

    WASHINGTON - Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a former Democratic presidential contender, said Monday he wants the House to consider a resolution to impeach President Bush. Today Rep. Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi consistently has said impeachment was "off the table."

    Kucinich, D-Ohio, read his proposed impeachment language in a floor speech. He contended Bush deceived the nation and violated his oath of office in leading the country into the Iraq war.

    Kucinich introduced a resolution last year to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. That resolution was killed, but only after Republicans initially voted in favor of taking up the measure to force a debate.
    Let's get this thing moving! Last chance to dance, Nance!

    Saturday, June 07, 2008

    June 8, 1968

    A touching video of Bobby Kennedy's funeral train, taking him from NYC to Washington and his final resting place. Thousands of mourners lined the tracks and stations, paying their respects as the train passed by.

    "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." - from his last speech, June 5, 1968.

    (h/t to Bob Symmes for the video link)

    Thursday, June 05, 2008

    Watching the Prediction Markets

    Reuters has an interesting story about how "prediction market traders" are forecasting the 2008 election.

    We all know those Brits love to bet on just about anything, so this year's American election is giving them loads of opportunities to wager a quid or two.
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will beat Republican John McCain in the November U.S. presidential election, prediction market traders were betting on Wednesday.

    Traders on the Dublin-based Intrade prediction market gave Obama a 61 percent chance of winning the November 4 election, versus a 35 percent chance for McCain. Traders on the Iowa Electronic Markets gave the Democrat an almost 62 percent chance of winning, versus a 39 percent chance for the Republican.

    Prediction exchanges let traders buy and sell contracts on the likelihood of future events. Contracts are usually structured so prices can be read as a percentage chance of an event occurring. Studies of prediction markets have shown they have an accuracy comparable to that of public opinion polls.

    Traders were less certain about the vice presidential running mate for either candidate. Around midday on Wednesday, Obama's chief Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, was seen as having a 22 percent chance of being his pick.

    Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, a former Navy secretary, was given an 19 percent chance of being Obama's choice, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had a 6 percent chance and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner a 5.5 percent chance.

    On the Republican side, traders gave former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a 20 percent chance of being McCain's running mate. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had a 16 percent chance and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee a 12 percent chance. (Editing by Alan Elsner)
    Let's see...I'll put a fiver on Obama to beat McCain by at least 10 points, and I'll take 3 to 1 odds that Hillary WON'T get the VP nod!

    Wednesday, June 04, 2008

    Obama gives Joe the "LBJ treatment"

    UPDATE: If you arrived here from a link elsewhere, click HERE to visit the home page of!
    From My Left Nutmeg:
    Earlier, Lieberman had criticized Obama's experience and judgement on Israel and Iran after he had appeared at the AIPAC conference.
    Furthermore, during a Senate vote Wednesday, Obama dragged Lieberman by the hand to a far corner of the Senate chamber and engaged in what appeared to reporters in the gallery as an intense, three-minute conversation.

    While it was unclear what the two were discussing, the body language suggested that Obama was trying to convince Lieberman of something and his stance appeared slightly intimidating.

    Using forceful, but not angry, hand gestures, Obama literally backed up Lieberman against the wall, leaned in very close at times, and appeared to be trying to dominate the conversation, as the two talked over each other in a few instances.

    Still, Obama and Lieberman seemed to be trying to keep the back-and-forth congenial as they both patted each other on the back during and after the exchange.

    Afterwards, Obama smiled and pointed up at reporters peering over the edge of the press gallery for a better glimpse of their interaction.

    Obama loyalists were quick to express their frustration with Lieberman's decision and warned that if he continues to take a lead role in attacking Obama it could complicate his professional relationship with the Caucus.
    Who doesn't love that? LBJ was a pro at forcing people to own up to their words, and he often tested their commitment in the face of a little intimidation.

    Lyndon Johnson was the farthest thing from the prototypical "wimpy" Democrat. LBJ would often use his imposing height and overwhelming personality to make his point. He was truly the "anti-Harry Reid", a master of persuasion, and we may have found someone who finally can fill his shoes.

    Does anyone think any other Democratic candidates would be able to make Lieberman wet his pants like that?

    Sec. Bysiewicz renews call for primary reform

    In a press release from the Secretary of State's Office, Susan Bysiewicz reiterated her call for both parties to reform the current haphazard primary system.

    The plan, endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of the State (NASS), along with a crapload of other organizations, proposes four rotating "regions" which each has a month to complete all it's primaries. So, we'll have say the Western region completing it's primaries in March, the Midwestern in April, the Eastern in May, and the Southern in June. The following election will see the first region go to the end of the line and all others move up one place. That way, each region will be first every sixteen years. The regions may schedule their primaries any time within "their" month.

    Iowa and New Hampshire will retain their traditional privileged status as first caucus and primary, probably sometime in late February or early March.

    The national committees of each party must decide on this proposal, and I'm hoping the bipartisan support the plan has received with translate to actual progress. The Democratic Party is free to take up the issue at any time.

    However, the Republican Party limits reform discussions to one short window of time every four years, at its nominating conventions. This will take place in Minnesota in early September, so they've got to act fast. The reason it's important to get both parties to agree on a plan is that presently each state is free to set it's primary schedule, and a situation similar to Florida may occur where the majority party and governor rules when the election will be held, regardless of the effect it has on the opposition party.

    Hence the DNC's ruling early on to strip Florida of it's delegates when the Republican majority moved the state primaries earlier.

    Now, I'm well aware that the Republicans often are tremendously short-sighted, and I'm sure some of them think the kind of chaos that occurred this year in the Democratic primaries will be a permanent feature if they don't fix the process. But you need to remember that this is the very same Republican party that agreed to the deal where whichever party held the majority in the Senate on the first day of the session would retain their majority status even if the makeup of the Senate changes.

    That's why we have all the committees and the "majority", even though today the makeup of the body is 49-49-2. They thought they'd be in charge from day one and gambled to keep power in the event of potential Republican defections, which might have seemed like a good idea at the time.

    But they didn't anticipate Joe Lieberman and the depth of his betrayal to the Democratic party; if they had, they NEVER would have proposed the plan. Ha-ha.

    So, I'm holding out hope that we'll see a new primary system that not only benefits both parties, but by allowing candidates to spend a month in each region rather than endlessly criss-crossing the nation, it'll benefit the voters too, by letting them actually see and hear their candidates.

    However, we all know that the Republicans would like nothing better than to shoot down a plan that makes sense (unless it was Dick Cheney's idea), so I'm a bit skeptical that we'll see this adopted at the frenzied Republican National Convention late this summer.

    They're going to be too busy bailing out their sinking lifeboat of a presidential campaign to worry about what the menu choices are at the yacht club.

    3rd term McCain

    Tuesday, June 03, 2008

    Yes We Did!

    WOO-HOOOO!!! *

    (* my shortest blog post ever!)

    What a long, strange trip it's been

    Today the primaries are FINALLY over! By 11PM tonight, we'll have a presumptive nominee, and the Democratic party can begin focusing on November.

    I vividly remember walking in the slush on a chilly night outside a bar in Manchester NH nearly five months ago, waiting for Dennis Kucinich to show up as the primary results started coming in.

    Today it's 80 degrees and I'm wearing shorts and no shoes, and I can't help but be astonished that it took this long for the process to work it's way through. There's no way that even one person up in Manchester that night had imagined we would have such a long and thrilling primary season. I'm already feeling nostalgia.

    In early February just two days before our own primary, I attended the McCain rally in Fairfield. Small, flashy, loaded with generally OK people, except for the crowd on the stage.

    Then, the next day, I was at the huge Barack Obama rally in Hartford. This was a truly historic event, and it was good to see Sen. Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama and getting a warm reaction from the crowd. It felt like a rock concert, and often I couldn't hear everything being said because of the enthusiastic crowd.

    This year's primary season has been historic and unforgettable. I know that twenty years from now, I'm going to still be talking about "that amazing primary year of aught-eight" (although I probably won't have a good explanation for sounding like a gold-rush miner).

    My website has gotten nearly 100,000 hits due SOLELY to the primaries, because my primary schedule page was the top search result on Google for "primary schedule" for several months. January alone saw around 50,000 visits; much higher than my usual monthly 5-10,000 hits.

    It's been fun keeping track of the unique issues associated with all the weird turns and surprises that came up. I'm going to miss updating that portion of my blog with results and observations, along with my little map displaying the states that were holding their primaries.

    But now we also need to concentrate on something else.

    We need to FIX this broken process, and get to it immediately!

    We need to eliminate "front-loading" of the primaries by getting our DNC reps to approve a workable solution to the mess, such as splitting the nation into four regions and having regional primaries on a rotating basis.

    Imagine how great it would be to have 12 or 13 states each month, 3 or 4 each week, holding primaries. Plus, the candidates will have a much easier time meeting and being seen by the people by spending one month in the northeast, one in the south, etc., rather than the current wasteful criss-crossing of the nation.

    We need to eliminate "super" anythings. Super delegates who aren't bound by their state's voters, and "Super Tuesday" where 22 states all have their primary on the same day. Enough with the "super" stuff. Fix it.

    Oh, and one more good thing about the primaries being over:

    McCain's "free ride" has run out of gas. Now the media can start hammering on him for a change!

    Monday, June 02, 2008

    Grandma is unrepentant

    Representing the very worst contingent of our party, rabid Clinton supporter Harriet Christian appears on FoxNews with Neil Cavuto and holds fast to her stance that she'll vote for John McCain before Barack Obama in November, and she expands on her terribly uncompromising reasoning why Obama is the worst thing in the known universe; in fact, probably far worse than the New York Yankees right now.

    She's obviously the soul-sister of Geraldine Ferraro.

    This woman is surely an embarrassment to her grandchildren, who are probably Obama supporters and will now feel obligated to canvass extra hard for him. Kind of like how I feel about my dad; this election day I'm going to nail-gun his door shut so he won't be able to negate my vote for Barack.

    Plus, Jane's video has amassed nearly a million hits so far, and it's become a punchline on The Daily Show tonight. Yay Jane!

    UPDATE: Here's the video from TDS. Jane's video and Stewart's reaction are near the end.

    Last day for Hill?

    Maybe. We'll see.

    BTW, does anyone else think that CNN.Com's pathetic attempt at popularizing their shitty corporate news service by trade-marking, printing, and selling T-shirts using random "headlines" lacks both humor and irony? This appears to be a remarkably lame effort to create some "hip" buzz about CNN, but it fails on an epic scale.

    If I ever see someone wearing one of those stupid fucking shirts, I'll have to use all my restraint to stop myself from screaming "Breaking news!" and punching them in the face!

    DiNardo announces her choice


    Ms. DiNardo, Chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic Party, has announced today that she is choosing to vote for Barack Obama.

    That brings the total of Connecticut's super delegates to two for Clinton and ten for Obama.

    Nancy chose to announce at an especially opportune time; by doing so the day BEFORE the final primaries, her decision won't be lost in the expected flood of super delegates who will probably state their preferences on Wednesday, AFTER South Dakota and Montana. Very shrewd political maneuver, if you ask me. We'll probably see some other delegates follow suit later today.

    (And now, in the spirit of party unity, I hereby announce that I take back 83% of the snarky things I've said about Nancy in the last two years; you'll have to figure out for yourselves which things are included in the non-retracted 17%)

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    BTW, Jane Hamsher's video of disgruntled Clinton supporter Harriet Christian from Manhattan, New York (see post from Saturday below) has gotten around 750,000 hits in less than two days; and it's even being front-paged on Drudge. We can thank Harriet for making the phrase "inadequate black male" an unfortunate addition to the popular lexicon, putting her on the same despicable level as Don Imus.

    And I loved the final comment in the video you can just barely hear, about someone saying that "it's good to see mother get some exercise" and Jane's laugh.

    I'm sure lots of conservatives are getting tingly feelings in their pants at the prospect of millions of Harriet Christians across the country either staying home on election day or voting for McCain. Let them delude themselves.

    The fact is, after Wednesday the Democratic Party is going to come together and be stronger than ever; and once we can fully focus on John Sidney McCain III, his quest for the White House will crash and burn as spectacularly as the Hindenburg.

    Sunday, June 01, 2008

    The Whole Truth

    (Comic by J.D. Crowe, Alabama -- The Mobile Register; J.D.'s website)

    A new epidemic to worry about

    Um, I was talking about the REPUBLICANS...they have a LOT to worry about!

    (Kick-ass video! I only wish I had the time to put together something like that)